By George Bah
Wassu Gambia Kafo (WGK) has recently held a day-long training for magistrates on Female Genital Mutilation at a forum held at a local hotel in Kotu.
WGK is an international non-profit organization established in 1990 with a view to promoting cooperation and development between the Republic of The Gambia and Spain in the area of health, research and education.
The daylong convergence was aimed at equipping participants with the necessary knowledge on FGM. The forum was attended by mainly new magistrates.
Speaking at the forum, Justice Awa Bah, Head of the Court of Appeal of The Gambia spoke at length on the significance of the forum, adding that it is of paramount importance to sensitize the new magistrates on the anti FGM law, saying that the harmful effects of FGM cannot be overemphasized.
The training, she added, is not the first of its kind, thus it will pave the way for new magistrates to benefit from it. “Having the privilege to convict people practicing this act, the judiciary has huge role to play. We must therefore set good examples,” she noted.
The Head of the Court of Appeal of The Gambia commended WGK for their tireless efforts in fighting FGM, thus urged the participants to make great use of the training and disseminate the information to others.
The Charge d’Affairs at the Spanish Embassy in The Gambia, said Gambia and Spain have certain differences but also certain similarities. “If all sorts of FGM are banned then cooperation is needed and punishment should be practiced,” he said.
According to him, FGM cases are normally dealt with severely in Spain and perpetrators are taken to court to face charges, thus he called for greater cooperation between the two countries.
The National Assembly Member for Banjul North Honorable Ousman Sillah said the parliament is not left behind either. “In an advocacy role, it is our duty to engage all stakeholders concerned”, he noted. He called on WGK to redouble their efforts in ensuring that the menace of FGM becomes history in our communities.