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Over 30 NAMs travel to Egypt on FGM benchmarking trip

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By Omar Bah

Over 30 National Assembly Members and a good number of support staff have travelled to Egypt yesterday on a benchmarking tour on female genital mutilation, The Standard has been reliably informed.

A bill, introduced by Foni Kansala NAM Almameh Gibba seeking to repeal the ban on FGM, is currently with the Joint Committee of Health and Gender for consultation and consideration before a final vote. The committee has since received position papers from several organisations, both pro and against FGM and is now set to extend its consultations beyond Gambia’s borders.

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A correspondence from the Assembly administration to the NAMs informing them about the trip seen by The Standard reads: “The Joint Committee of Health and Gender of the National Assembly, with support from partners, intends to undertake a benchmark visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt, including some members on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C), with the aim of learning comparative studies on the matter in Egypt”.

The visit, which was initially planned for 3 June but moved to 9 June, is entirely funded by undisclosed partners of the National Assembly.

The delegation will visit the famous Al-Azar University, where many Gambian scholars studied, the Supreme Islamic Council of Egypt as well as the National Assembly and health ministries of Egypt.

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The Standard has been reliably informed that the trip may be funded by anti-FGM campaigners who have succeeded in mobilising a good number of deputies to vote against the proposed bill but our source denied that.

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