Stakeholders review Anti FGM laws
By Cherno Omar Bobb
Stakeholders including the Gambia Police Force, Nurses, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Societies Organizations (CSOs) have recently concluded a three days review of the Anti-FGM legislation passed into law by erstwhile President Yahya Jammeh in 2015.
According to stakeholders the purpose of the policy dialogue held from 21st – 23rd March 2023 was meant to identify gaps, make recommendations and amendments that will better serve the needs of every Gambian.
The review activity was organised by the Network Against Gender-Based Violence in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Children, Gender and Social Welfare with funding from UNFPA.
They disclosed that the Anti-FGM legislation that is part of the Women’s Act was made in a rush by the former regime without engaging all stakeholders during the drafting of the law.
Fatou Camara Touray of the Ministry of Health said the confab was meant to review the Anti-FGM law to see whether there are gaps and come up with a comprehensive law that will address all issues surrounding the Anti-FGM in the country.
She added that this is why after seven years they felt the need to review the legislation to address gaps and have a good law.
She pointed out that they also want to detach the Anti-FGM legislation from the Women’s Act and ensure it becomes a standalone law that can accommodate many things that affect women in the country.
However, she revealed that a technical team has been formed and already started work through consultations with various stakeholders including securities, nurses, NGOs and CSOs.
She pointed out that the consultations will avail various stakeholders the opportunity to critically review the law in their own perspective and identity what has been lacking and what can be added into the legislation.
The Reproductive Maternal and Neo-Natal, Adult and Child Health Program official who is also a member of the Technical Team disclosed that consultations would continue with health officials, religious leaders, National Assembly Members, students and community leaders.
She added that through the consultations the Technical Team will be able to come up with a comprehensive law that will address matters dealing with Anti-FGM in the country.
Camara Touray, a participant called on stakeholders to come forward with their suggestions and recommendations that can shape the law to better serve its purpose.
She observed that often times Gambians feel reluctant to speak their minds when issues of Anti-FGM come into the fray.