GAMCOTRAP and NPWJ promote a day-long awareness activity to strengthen the legal and political framework against FGM in The Gambia

Kanifing, The Gambia, 21 February 2018

On the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, GAMCOTRAP and No Peace Without Justice are conducting a day-long awareness activity under the theme “Accelerate Zero Tolerance to end FGM by 2030: Fostering the dialogue among local actors to strengthen the legal and political framework against FGM in The Gambia”, to be held on 21 February 2018 in Kanifing in the Greater Banjul Area.
The event is part of a wider awareness campaign against female genital mutilation, called “BanFGM: Towards the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation”, carried out by NPWJ in seven West African countries with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
In the wake of the passage of the law prohibiting FGM in the Gambia, this event aims to strengthen awareness-raising and advocacy activities to popularize it, spreading the information both on the universal ban on FGM and its implications at the local/national level as well as about the law. Wide knowledge about this law and its implications, among representatives of the government as well as the general public, is essential to ensure effective application. Participants will comprise community based facilitators, some Ex-Circumcisers, Women leaders and Young people drawn from different organisations in the Gambia.

As called for by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 69/150, the adoption and the enforcement of explicit and effective legislation, backed by sanctions, banning all forms of FGM are fundamental and crucial factors to successfully combat this form of gender-based violence, protect its victims and end impunity. In addition to holding perpetrators to account, legislation protects and provides the legal tools for women and girls willing to defy the social pressures of tradition and reject FGM, and also establishes the legal environment that legitimizes and facilitates the advocacy and educational work of local anti-FGM activists and women’s rights groups.
On 28 December 2015, the National Assembly of Gambia adopted the Women's Amendment Bill 2015 which bans Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and sets strict penalties for offenders. According to the bill, a person who engages in female circumcision could face up to three years in prison or a fine of 50,000 dalasi (£851). If the act results in death, a person could face life imprisonment. The adoption of the bill follows an executive pronouncement and decision by President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia to ban FGM. The adoption of the bill is a concrete answer to the voices of the numerous communities which over the past eight years have publicly demonstrated their willingness to end FGM. It also reinforces the legitimacy and impact of the advocacy and awareness efforts carried out by civil society groups such as GAMCOTRAP under the tireless leadership of its president, Isatou Touray, to bring an end to this human rights violation.

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