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Unwavering Solidarity For The Prohibition Of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) In The Gambia

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Hannah Froster, Acdhrs

The National Forum for Gender Equality, Democracy, and Sustainable Development stands firmly and unwaveringly in solidarity with The Gambia in its ongoing efforts to prohibit and combat Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Women’s Amendment Act 2015. The recent discussions around the possibility of repealing the prohibition of FGM in The Gambia is a matter of great concern for our organization. FGM, a deeply rooted cultural practice, has caused immense suffering for countless women and girls across the globe. 

Our organization recognizes and respects the importance of cultural and religious beliefs, which hold a significant place in the lives of individuals and communities. However, it is imperative that these beliefs and traditions do not come at the expense of the welfare and well-being of women and girls in our society.

Female Genital Mutilation constitutes a blatant violation of the basic human rights of women and girls. It infringes upon their rights to health, bodily integrity, and freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Every individual has the inherent right to live a life free from such violations. Women and girls subjected to this practice often endure physical pain, infection, hemorrhage, and long-term complications such as infertility and childbirth-related issues. It also poses a serious threat to their mental and emotional well-being.

FGM perpetuates and deepens deeply entrenched gender inequalities by reinforcing harmful gender norms and practices. It sustains unequal power dynamics between men and women, further marginalizing women in societies where this practice is prevalent. The physical and psychological harm caused by FGM impedes the full participation of women and girls in education, employment, and decision-making processes, hindering the progress of entire communities.

The prohibition of FGM aligns with international commitments and conventions, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which call for an end to harmful practices and gender-based violence.

Furthermore, it is essential to recognize the grave consequences that those who perpetrate FGM may face. The legal prohibition of the practice in The Gambia is a crucial step in ensuring that those who engage in this harmful practice are held accountable for their actions. Such consequences can serve as a deterrent and send a strong message that FGM has no place in our communities.

The National Forum for Gender Equality, Democracy, and Sustainable Development calls upon all stakeholders, including government authorities, civil society organizations, religious leaders, and community members, to unite in support of the fight against FGM. We urge the government to uphold its commitment to gender equality and human rights by maintaining the prohibition of this harmful practice. Together, we can create societies that prioritize the well-being and rights of women and girls, where harmful practices like FGM are relegated to the past. Our solidarity is unwavering, and our resolve to eradicate FGM remains resolute.

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