Sunday, July 21, 2024

Human Rights Organizations Convene Roundtable on Women’s Amendment Act 2015

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By Alieu Jallow

Following the conviction of three women in September 2023 for performing FGM on eight girls under five years old, a controversy emerged, sparking widespread public outcry.

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In February, the Women Amendment Bill 2024 was introduced by Almameh Gibba, National Assembly Member (NAM) for Foni Kansala. The bill passed the first and second readings, with the latter referred to the ABC committee of the National Assembly for consultations and dialogue.

As the bill is scheduled to be presented to parliament on July 4th, 2024, the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), a pan-African NGO working to promote human rights awareness in Africa and enhance the effectiveness of the African Human Rights system, in partnership with the National Human Rights Commission, is organising a roundtable discussion with media personnel. This collective advocacy aims to maintain the criminalisation of FGM/C in The Gambia.

The primary objective of the discussion is to provide participants with sufficient information to strengthen their voices against the repeal and reaffirm The Gambia’s commitment to a zero-tolerance policy on FGM/C, gender equity, and women’s rights by upholding and enforcing the law that criminalizes the practice in the country.

Officials expect renewed calls for the Gambian government to honour its commitments and obligations under national, regional, and international law to protect and promote women’s rights.

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They also anticipate generating action to support the fight against the decriminalization of FGM/C, with the hope that participants will pledge their commitment to enhancing the protection and promotion of women’s and girls’ rights in The Gambia.

The practice, deeply ingrained in the ethnic, traditional, cultural, and religious beliefs of most Gambians, is considered to contravene universal values, including the rights to equality, human dignity, and freedom from cruel and inhuman treatment.

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