Friday, September 19, 2014

GAMCOTRAP joins one billion rising revolution






Febraury 14 globally, is Valentine day; a day when lovers renew their love, commitment but women and men in The Gambia have been rising together with the rest of the world to end violence against women, thanks to GAMCOTRAP.
GAMCOTRAP, a women’s right NGO, who have over the years been very active and effective in the promotion of women and children’s rights, particularly those relate to female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and other discriminatory practices joined the global energy to strike, dance and rise against Violence against women calling for an end to FGM, early marriage and other gender discriminatory practices affecting women and men in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

V-day is founded by Eve Ensler, a journalist and writer for 15 years and is celebrated on Valentine’s Day globally to bring focus to all forms of violence such as rape, early marriage, battering, Female Genital Mutilation, amongst others and to contribute to the global efforts to end these atrocities in every country and community.

In preparation of the One Billion Rising 2015, GAMCOTRAP held a press briefing to update the public on rising to end violence against women in the Gambia. The executive director of GAMCOTRAP, Dr Isatou Touray said:
 “We rise, we dance, we demand for justice but we now want to change in perceptions and attitudes to dismantle patriarchy and change institutions to take responsibility to end violence against women. We have the responsibility to protect women and girls from all forms of harmful traditional practices, be it female genital mutilation, early and forced marriages, and break the silence over sexual abuse in the home, school, office or any other public place

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In attempts to contain Ebola, Liberia censors its press

      Security forces guard a checkpoint in an area of Monrovia that was in
 quarantine for several days as part of government efforts to try to contain Ebola
 in Liberia. (Reuters

With the Ebola epidemic predicted to get worse, the Liberian government has taken action to silence news outlets critical of its handling of the health crisis which, according to Liberia's Information Ministry, has claimed more than 1,000 lives in the country since March.
Publishers have been harassed and forced to cease printing, and journalists were initially not exempt from a curfew, making it difficult for them to work, according to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).
During this challenging time, the action by authorities is serving only to strengthen "the distrust" between the government and the media, PUL stated in a letter to Justice Minister Christiana Tah on September 4. In the letter, union president Abdullai Kamara cited several accounts of harassment and intimidation, including cases involving Women VoicesFrontPageAfrica, and the National Chronicle, which have all come under pressure in recent weeks.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Anti-FGM Crusaders to Penetrate Deep into NRR



Dr Touray

Residents of North Bank Region will have their share of the intensifying sensitisation campaign that seeks to eliminate the deep-rooted cultural practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia.
Gamcotrap, a women’s rights advocacy is targeting one hundred and eighteen communities in Upper Badibou and Sabach Sanjal Districts. The three year project is funded by the UNFPA/Gambia Government Country Programme 2012 – 2016 entitled: “Accelerating the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Gambia”.   
In a press released Gamcotrap said they have visited the region before and the governor of the Region, Mr. Lamin Quin Jammeh was briefed by the executive director of GAMCOTRAP. ‘Dr. Isatou Touray informed him of the project objectives which aim at raising awareness and empowering communities to end FGM and protect their girls and women. The governor welcomed the GAMCOTRAP team to his region and stated his support to end FGM”
According to the released, governor Jammeh said the eradication of FGM is part of the development process and should be a concern to everyone, urging GAMCOTRAP not to relent in the progress being made. “FGM, early marriage and women’s rights are three important issues that people should be concern about. “We are together in spirit and we are with you in your efforts to protect the girl children from FGM.” He said.
Gamcotrap stated: “One hundred and fifty (150) Community and Women leaders have been the target of the launching the GAMCOTRAP grassroots FGM activities in Upper Badibou and Sabach Sanjal.”
According to Dr Touray it was a privilege to launch the project in three different venues: Illiassa and Farafenni in the Upper Badibou district and Ngayen Sanjal in the Sabach Sanjal district. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gambia Government postpones UN experts visit





The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on torture, Juan E. Méndez, and summary, extrajudicial and arbitrary executions, Mr. Christof Heyns, today expressed their deep disappointment with the unilateral decision taken by the Government of The Gambia to postpone their country visit, scheduled to start today and take place until 18 August 2014.

In a news release issued by United Nations Human Right the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated that: “We find it extremely worrying that a major undertaking dealing with issues such as unlawful killings and torture can be cancelled without explanation, just as it is about to start.”

The experts said, “The Government’s decision to postpone our visit casts doubt on The Gambia's willingness to engage with the United Nations' special procedures and to respond to the legitimate expectations of the human rights constituency in Gambian civil society.

SABALLY IN COURT, REMANDED AT NIA





Author: Binta A Bah, standard.gm
After being detained for over a month, Momodou Sabally was yesterday afternoon arraigned before the high court in Banjul.
State prosecutors have slammed one count of economic crime and two counts of abuse of office charges against the former secretary general and minister for presidential affairs, all relating to a Youth Career Development Programme organised by one Mariama Sillah in May 2014.
Mr Sabally, 40, is accused of causing economic loss to SSHFC in the amount of D402,500 by unduly influencing SSHFC to fund the programme without the recourse to due process. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
However, his request to be released on bail was denied by Justice Abdullahi Mikailu who ordered him to be remanded at the National Intelligence Agency after the prosecution said the investigations into his matter were ongoing.
 “I want an order to leave the accused in the custody of the NIA owing to the fact that the investigation in relation to the accused person is ongoing. We want the court to give an order to this effect,” the director of public prosecution told the court.  
Mr Sabally who was not represented by a lawyer told the court: “I have been detained for five weeks during which I cooperated with the investigators… I have a wife and children.

Monday, August 4, 2014

GAMCOTRAP Engages with the Lived Realities of Rural Women


resume on October 14 for hearing.
Nine hundred women and religious leaders in the Upper River, Central River and Lower River Regions are targeted to increase awareness on the lived realities of rural women within the context of QIWAMAH AND WILAYAH.   The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), funded by The Tides Foundation, through the New Field Foundation will build the capacity of a critical mass of male and female religious leaders, women leaders and women of reproductive age in the rural areas to foster exchange of experience and mutual support of women’s rights and justice within their communities.  This is within the context of the project entitled "Increasing Awareness and Documentation of Women's Rights Issues on the Life Stories on Qiwamah and Wilayah in Three Districts of Rural Gambia."  The project is specifically targeting 450 religious scholars and 450 women.


In 2012, GAMCOTRAP as a member of MUSAWAH, a global movement to promote Equality and Justice in the Muslim family undertook a research project on the lived realities of thirteen Gambian women within the context of QIWAMAH and WILAYAH (QIWI).  While QIWAMAH and WILAYAH are contextualized as legal responsibilities of men providing protection and upkeep of the family, the data collected from the lived realities of the women revealed different narratives.

The data collected, revealed how women struggled in their daily lives to survive and support their families irrespective of whether the husband is alive or dead, or whether he is around or travelled or whether divorced or inherited. This is irrespective of geographical location, educational background, age or status. The high illiteracy rate among women, the prevalent rate of violence on women, and the strong adherence of deep-rooted culture and traditional practices exacerbate the problem. These coupled with women’s limited knowledge about their rights in their religion all have negative impact on women’s health and livelihood.


This is the main aim of the project sharing experiences and providing evidences of how QIWI concepts actually acts out or manifest for Muslim women in the Gambia.  The voices of the thirteen (13) respondents have been developed into a video documentary and a booklet funded by New Field Foundation.  These will be used as resource materials to raise the awareness of women, religious and Islamic scholars to effect change.  The resource materials will be widely disseminated for people to appreciate what women experience. It will also serve as resource material for feminist analysis within the framework of Islam and Human Rights of women. 
Source: GAMCOTRAP

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dr. Touray Tour of US Colleges and Universities


 
Dr. Touray
It is with appreciation that Gambian academics, an expert in gender and leading activist in the fight to end FGM and other forms of violence against women, Dr. Isatou Touray has been invited on a tour in the United States giving lectures to hundreds of students at Juniata College and Washington and Jefferson College. The invitation which was made by Professor Buba Misawa and Professor Emil Nagengast was honoured by Dr Touray.  The tour gave her the opportunity to share the work of her organization in the campaign to end FGM.  The partnership has been going and it gives students from the United States and other parts of the world to visit GAMCOTRAP and learn more about cultural practices in the context of sexuality and reproductive health and rights.


Meanwhile Dr. Touray participated at the V-Day Coordinators strategic planning meeting in Italy in preparation for the 2015 global One Billion Rising against Gender Based Violence. The outcome of the meeting is focussing on a ‘Revolution’ all over the world.

IAC Re-born in Style

The Inter Africa Committee on Traditional practice – IAC held its 8th General Assembly in Burkina Faso in April 2014.