Pro-FGM/C bill referred to parliamentary committee for scrutiny

Pro-FGM/C bill referred to parliamentary committee for scrutiny

At least 42 National Assembly Members (NAMs) on Monday 18 March 2024 voted to refer the Female Genital Cutting (FGC) Bill to the National Assembly Business Committee (ABC) for proper scrutiny.

The Bill, which seeks to lift the ban on female circumcision, a practice believed to be ethnic, traditional, cultural and religious beliefs of certain individuals was introduced for a second reading by Hon. Almameh Gibba, a Member for Foni Kansala.

“The bill seeks to uphold religious loyalty and safeguard cultural norms and values,” says Hon. Gibba.

“The use of a ban on female circumcision is a direct violation of the citizens’ rights to practice their culture and religion as guaranteed by the 1997 Constitution.”

“Given that The Gambia is predominantly a Muslim population and the law (anti-circumcision) is inconsistent with the aspiration of the majority of the people should be considered.”

“Female circumcision is of cultural significance and it is supported by Islam, values and tradition,” he added. “It is noted that the use of law to restrict religious and cultural practice whether it’s national or international leads to conflict and friction.”

“The continuous ban on female circumcision and penalising practitioners has directly contradicted the broader principles of the United Nations,” Hon. Gibba said.

Hon Alhagie S. Darboe, the Member for Brikama North and Minority Leader, suggested for a national dialogue over the matter.

“Based on the recommendation I made, the dialogue should not be limited at the conference centre but rather every region should have their say,” Hon. Darboe suggested.

“As Gambians, we try to iron out issues for peace to prevail at all times.”

He further urged everyone to respect each other’s beliefs, be it a tradition, religion or an activist.

Hon. Gibbi Mballow, who spoke against the bill, stated that Members should not hide behind religious practice as “it is not religious” and urged fellow lawmakers to kill the bill.

The NAM for Kiang West, Hon. Lamin Ceesay, expressed that the anti-FGC law is “inconsistent with the national law by restricting Muslims or part of the population who believe this is their religion and culture.”

He says that he would rather resign from his position than to vote against his faith.

Source: The Point

Post a Comment

Translate »