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 The Gambia bans female genital mutilation
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Posted - 25 Nov 2015 :  10:37:05  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Congratulations to GAMCOTRAP for their efforts the past 3 decades to see to it that this practice is banned. The next step is for the law to passed in the National Assembly

Gambia bans female genital mutilation
President Yahya Jammeh outlaws practice that affects three-quarters of women in west African country

The Gambia has announced it will ban female genital mutilation (FGM) after the Guardian launched a global campaign to end the practice.

The president, Yahya Jammeh, said last night that the controversial surgical intervention would be outlawed. He said the ban would come into effect immediately, though it was not clear when the government would draft legislation to enforce it.

FGM involves cutting female genitalia – often when girls are young – to remove their labia and clitoris, which often leads to lifelong health complications, including bleeding, infections, vaginal pain and infertility. More than 130 million women worldwide are subjected to the procedure in Africa and the Middle East.

The practice is widespread in many African countries, including the Gambia, where 76% of females have been subjected to it. The age at which FGM takes place in the Gambia is not recorded, but it is reported that the trend of practicing FGM on infant girls is increasing. By the age of 14, 56% of female children in the country have had the procedure.

Jaha Dukureh, an anti-FGM activist whose campaign to end the practice in the country has been supported by the Guardian, spent the past week meeting cabinet ministers in the Gambia and sent them articles from the newspaper to inform them about the issue.

“I’m really amazed that the president did this. I didn’t expect this in a million years. I’m just really proud of my country and I’m really, really happy,” she told the Guardian. “I think the president cared about the issue, it was just something that was never brought to his attention.

Jammeh’s announcement came late last night, as the president was visiting his home village on Kanilai as part of a nationwide tour. The announcement was unexpected for both campaigners and public.

“The amazing thing is it’s election season. This could cost the president the election. He put women and girls first, this could negatively affect him, but this shows he cares more about women than losing people’s votes,” said Dukureh.

Dukureh will return to the Gambia on Tuesday to thank Jammeh for the ban and to help with drafting the legislation that will enforce it.

A ban on FGM would be a significant development on an issue that has proved controversial and divisive in the Gambia, with some arguing that FGM is permitted in Islam, the major religion in the country.

Senior Muslim clerics in the Gambia have previously denied the existence of FGM in the Gambia saying instead that was is practiced is “female circumcision”. In 2014, state house imam, Alhaji Abdoulie Fatty told Kibaaro News, “I have never heard of anyone who died as a result of female genital mutilation (FGM)... If you know what FGM means, you know that we do not practice that here. We do not mutilate our children.”...........................

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Source: The Guardian

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FGM ban ‘a great step in the right direction’: Guardian coordinator

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) declared yesterday by President Yahya Jammeh on his present countrywide tour has been welcomed by various anti-FGM activists in The Gambia, including the Guardian newspaper coordinator, who is in the country to support a campaign against FGM organised by Safe Hands for Girls.
“This is a great announcement; it is also a great step in the right direction,” Lisa Camara, coordinator of the Guardian, said in an interview with The Point newspaper.

Lisa, who said she is still trying to put herself together after hearing the news announced on state TV and radio last night, remarked:“It was really unexpected; I did not see it coming up and a lot of activists did not see it too.”

Despite the banning of FGM, Safe Hands for Girls is not relenting in its campaign against the practice as, according to Lisa Camara, the ban has just set the pace for a renewed campaign in the journey to end the practice.

Lisa said her organization has a lot of sensitization to do even with the ban in place.

The President has added his voice in the fight against FGM in The Gambia, but this is just the beginning, as it takes getting the law in place that would ensure it is legally banned.

“Getting people also to understand its banning is another thing, as The Gambia is a small country where everybody is related in one way or the other, and we do not want people to start getting arrested,” she said.

“What we want is to get people engaged in dialogue and explaining to them why the President has joined the campaign.”

She further stated: “I believe now is the time that all activists should come together and sensitize the people in our villages and at community level on the main reason for the banning.”

On behalf of the Guardian, she thanked President Jammeh, saying: “I know he cares about women’s rights and children’s health, which he has shown. We really appreciate him adding his voice to this fight. And on behalf of myself and Safe Hands for Girls and all activists in this country, I say a big thank you to him. I also thank everyone that has supported the campaign so far. ”

Maria Saine, the programme officer for Safe Hands for Girls, said “it is a right step and a good foundation for all activists that have been working on FGM, and I believe this is just the beginning of activities at ending FGM because what the campaign has been lacking for several years is the political will, and now we have the support of His Excellency the President and his government; so we believe that with his support we will be able to end FGM in this generation.”

She pointed out that she expects people to use this development as a big opportunity and a tool in their advocacy, “because with the support of the government and with the political will I believe there is a lot we can do.

“People in this country believe in the President; they believe in what he does, and having this ban in place would let people finally be able sit down and think that FGM is really a harmful traditional practice.

“The President has for a very long time spoken about and made his stance clear about violence against women; so we believe that his coming out in public to ban FGM will help advocates in the long run.”

Ms Saine said they would continue the campaign against FGM, since even with the ban in place the practice might continue in closet, as has been happening in other countries across Africa.

“On behalf of everyone in Safe Hands for Girls and our executive director, I would like to say a big thank you to the President and his government,” she added.

Source: The Point

FGM banned
By Halimatou Ceesay

The Point: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

President Yahya Jammeh has declared a complete ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia with immediate effect.
President Jammeh made the pronouncement during his rally at his home village in Kanilai, according to GRTS radio news yesterday evening.

The President said after 21 years of research in the holy Quran, he had realised the practice of FGM is traditionally based on “no concrete facts”.

Rather, he said, FGM practice is endangering the lives of women and girls with diseases such as fistula and cervical cancer, as well as increasing maternal mortality.

“Government in its quest to improve the lives and livelihood of women and girls will not condone any obstacle that will retard their progress,” he said, describing FGM as a bad traditional practice.

He, therefore, warned parents, chiefs, Alkalolou and female circumcision practitioners to shun the act or face consequences.

This pronouncement came at a time Safe Hands for Girls led by a Gambian US-based activist, Jaha Dukureh, came to lead an all-out Media Campaign against the age-old tradition, and follows Dukureh’s meeting with Cabinet members of the government during the President’s countrywide tour.

The Safe Hands for Girls office in the country has welcomed the President’s pronouncement, saying it gives strength to the campaign against the practice.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone


9153 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2015 :  10:55:18  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How the Gambia banned female "genital" mutilation By Maggie O'Kane

Female genital mutilation is still practiced at a rate of one girl every 11 seconds around the world in 29 countries. At least 130 million women and girls live with the consequences of having their sexual organs forcibly mutilated, with many suffering from fistula, maternal mortality, child mortality, infection from Aids and typhus, and post-traumatic stress.

Just 10 minutes before Yahya Jammeh, president of the Gambia, announced on Monday night that the controversial surgical intervention would be outlawed in his country, Jaha Dukureh, an anti-FGM campaigner, received a call from the president’s office to let her know that her work had been successful. They told her the president would announce that the Gambia was moving into the 21st century and there was no place for FGM in the modern state.

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A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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9153 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2015 :  12:32:50  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The FGM ban requires more

The Point Editorial: Thursday, November 26, 2015

The ban on the perennial practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia has been a long-awaited political decision, from those advocating against it, and a relief for the young girls.
This is one of the most impactful pronouncements of the Gambian leader in recent times, particularly against a practice that has huge controversy and division on religious lines among the populace.

While others said the decision to outlaw FGM should have come since yesterday, the Information Minister is right when he told the BBC Focus on Africa that nothing good comes too late.He was being interviewed on the FGM ban.

Henceforth, our young girls will not have their precious part cut, whether in the name of Islam or culture.

According to scientists, even though FGM might have some benefits, the proven health consequences far outweighed anything good about it.

For instance, the UN Population Fund said FGM has serious immediate and long-term health effects, besides being a violation of fundamental human rights.

Immediate complications include severe pain, difficulty in urinating, and haemorrhage which can be severe enough to cause death.Long-term consequences include anaemia, menstrual disorder, painful sexual intercourse, and complications during childbirth.

Therefore, it is good that the Gambian leader has weighed in to save generations of girls from these consequences.

The Gambia now joins at least 20 other African countries that have banned FGM, including Senegal (in 1999) and Mauritania (in 2005).

However, the pronouncement to ban FGM in The Gambia is good, but not an end in itself.

There is a need to have a law explicitly criminalising it.The law should come as soon as possible.

In all the other African countries where the practice is condemned, there are legal penalties ranging from a minimum of six months to a maximum of life in prison. Several countries also include monetary fines in the penalty.

However, the pronouncement and the impending legislation against FGM in The Gambia should not be the ultimate end of the sensitisation of the masses on the practice.

There are communities in countries where FGM has been banned and criminalised, but have continued to practise it.It could be so because their awareness on the impacts of the practice is lacking.

The UN children’s agency, UNICEF, has said sensitisation and education continues to be one of the most critical solutions to curbing FGM.

In The Gambia, we have seen even prior to the banning, there are communities that have publicly dropped the ‘knife’ of FGM; they have had to stop it due to the information they had been receiving on its impacts.

It is even possible that if such sensitisations are intensified, FGM will be stopped in The Gambia, probably not just now.

In essence, the ban and criminalisation of FGM should not make anti-FGM advocates stop the sensitisation; people should see the need to stop the practice even without being forced to do so.

Therefore, sensitisation should be given renewed vigour if the ban and impending law are to make the full impact.

We hope the ban on FGM really means that the practice is done and dusted in The Gambia “forever”, as the President said.

FGM is harmful…

Source: The Point

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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