Published on Gambia Dispatch, by correspondent, February 7, 2012.
… Dr Isatou Touray, executive director of the Gambia Committee Against Traditional Practices (Gamcotrap) said effective national legislation is a vital component of efforts to accelerate the elimination of FGM.
However, without a special anti-FGM law in the Gambia it will be a daunting task to clean the country of FGM as latest statistics shows 78 percent of the female population still practice it which is just a marginal improvement from 80 percent in 1999.
Organised by Gamcotrap with financial support from the European Union, the event brought together delegates-mostly women-across the country … //
…Therefore, according to Dr Touray, what is needed is reform of national laws or enactment of new laws to protect women and girls from FGM which is inimical to their health, wellbeing and the human rights.
The efforts of the Gamcotrap over the years in raising awareness about the dangers and the myths surrounding the practice has yielded dividend. Currently, more than one hundred FGM practitioners in the country have dropped their knives in 564 communities.“A lot has been done and the Gambia needs to consolidate these gains by passing a law against FGM,” she said.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “From Malabo to New York, support the resolution of the UN General Assembly banning FGM in the world” but in the Gambia, Gamcotrap localised it as: “From Kartong to Koina, a new law against FGM.” Kartong and Koina are two villages on either end of The Gambia.
Mrs Fatou Kinteh of the UN Family Planning Agency said some ethic groups in The Gambia practice FGM for a religious reason and some Islamic religious leaders and scholars also promote it for religious reason. Kinteh said that since some Muslims do not perform circumcision, it can be concluded as not religious but a traditional belief and practice.
The most common form of FGM practice in the Gambia is known as clitoridectomy or excision. This is the total removal of the clitoris, with or without partial or total removal of the labia minora.
The practice has serious immediate and long term health effects and is a violation of fundamental human rights. The health challenges are enormous as 1000 women die daily on a global level, from complications (including circumcision) associated with pregnancy and childbirth. (full text).
From Kartong to Koina: Calling for a Law against FGM.