Revealed: Gambian girls remain vulnerable to FGM despite ban
The banning of female genital mutilation in The Gambia by the previous government,as well as promulgation of laws against it falls short of providing concrete protection to potential victims, a new report has highlighted.
The report published by 28Too Many appreciates efforts by the government to protect girl children, but highlights legal and implementation deficits that leave people exposed to danger of the practice.
The report stated: “The introduction of new legislation by the previous Government was a significant step forward in the work to end FGM in The Gambia. Sections 32A and 32B of the Women’s (Amendment) Act 2015 criminalise and set out the punishments for performing, procuring and aiding and abetting the practice of FGM. The law also addresses the failure to report the practice.The current law does not directly criminalise and punish FGM performed by medical professionals, nor does it criminalise cross-border FGM, which remains a challenge in some communities. There has been limited enforcement of the law to date and ongoing pressure from practising communities to continue performing FGM. Changes in the political administration have added an additional layer of uncertainty around the commitment of the new president to the anti-FGM law”.
The report added that porous borders in West Africa make it possible for girls to be transported to other jurisdictions lenient on the practice of FGM where their bodily integrity is compromised. “In some countries where FGM has become illegal, the practice has been pushed underground and across borders to avoid prosecution. The Gambia borders Senegal, where prevalence remains as high as 77.8% in some southern regions, despite national legislation prohibiting the practice. The movement of families and circumcisers across borders to perform FGM and avoid prosecution remains a problem across West Africa, and girls living in border communities are particularly vulnerable. The Women’s (Amendment) Act 2015 does not, however, specifically address this challenge and does not criminalise acts of cross-border FGM,”added the report.
FGM hotspots as highlighted by the report published by 28Too Many