Tuesday, December 5

WILL boss opposes attempts to repeal anti-FGM law in Gambia

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She raised the issue recently during her participation at the 2nd International Conference on Female Genital Mutilation organised by the AU and hosted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Held from October 9 to 11 and eventually coinciding with the International Day of the Girl Child, the conference brought together stakeholders from AU member states and representatives from other international bodies and partners, including civil society organisations, academics and activists in an effort to gauge the level of progress in the struggle to eliminate FGM in Africa, a hotspot of the practice.

The continental forum, held on the theme ‘Change in a Generation’, triggered crucial discussions and deliberations in the form of presentations, panel discussions and other modus.

WILL, which is founded by Fatou Baldeh and remains one of the most robust women’s rights groups, described the conference as one that was “very timely, especially for The Gambia as we deal with threats of repealing FGM legislations in the country”.

While in Tanzania, Madam Baldeh recorded a short clip of herself wherein she declared that she was joining the global community in condemning FGM.

In the brief video clip, which was eventually shared on the Facebook page of WILL, she said: “I am attending the second international conference on female genital mutilation organised by the AU in Tanzania. I am joining the global community to advocate against the repeal of female genital mutilation laws in The Gambia.”

By and large, FGM was banned with immediate effect by former President Yahya Jammeh during a rally in Kanilai, where the then-president was already concluding a nationwide tour.

Following the declaration by former President Jammeh, the National Assembly, on December 2, amended the Women’s Act 2010 to criminalise FGM and lay down the penalties for defaulters in what later became the Women’s (Amendment) Act 2015.

However, of late, religious and even political leaders have come out in numbers to outspokenly condemn the anti-FGM laws, moves which have sparked serious debate over the past weeks and months concerning the practice. Madam Baldeh’s call is therefore arising amidst these blunt calls for the repeal of the anti-FGM laws.