Wednesday, February 4, 2015

GAMCOTRAP urges government to outlaw FGM

GAMCOTRAP, women ’s rights NGO working in the area of women and girls has urges the Government of the Gambia to escalate the gains already made in the advocacy by enacting a specific law against FGM.
In a press release issued ahead of the celebration of Zero Tolerance on FGM, GAMCOTRAP said the call is a popular demand from the population who is aware of the negative effects of FGM on women’s health and well-being.
GAMCOTRAP who have been very active and effective in stopping FGM will join the rest of the world to commemorate Zero Tolerance Day on FGM on Saturday. This year’s celebration marked the twelfth commemoration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.
Zero Tolerance Day originated on Feb. 6, 2003, when the first lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, officially declared “Zero Tolerance to FGM” in Africa during a conference organised by the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, a non-governmental network headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Since then, this day has been observed around the world.
The theme for 2012 is: “Mobilization and Involvement of Health Personnel to Accelerate Zero Tolerance for FGM.”

“February 6th 2015 is yet another day celebrating an important event calling the attention of the whole world the aim to end violence against women and girl –children,” the statement reads. “The theme is very relevant and important for the health sector to engage in the advocacy to end FGM and promote the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girl-children.”

It went on: “The celebration of Zero Tolerance Day is to highlight the issue of FGM and to create awareness among the public by engaging in constructive debates and panel discussions using the media. It is a day to reach out to the communities and facilitate dialogue and conversations about FGM and the rights of the girl-child.   It is in this light that GAMCOTRAP in partnership with One Billion Rising led by V-Day and Article 19 is localizing the global efforts to eliminate FGM in Brikama, West Coast Region.   500 women and young people who are exposed to the effects of FGM through the support of Save The Children will take part in the celebration. 
“The State, as the main duty bearer to the population, should take a lead in fulfilling its commitment and obligation to women and girls. The Gambia has committed itself to protecting women and girls from FGM, has signed, and ratified the relevant instruments and protocols to end FGM, yet there is still no specific law to protect the innocent girls from this gruesome practice.”

The practice which involves the removal of part, or all, of the female genitalia has left many women’s lives miserable according to World Health Organisation.
The most common form of genital mutilation performed in The  Gambia is known as the excision, which includes removal of all, or part of the labia minora, and cutting of the labia majora to create raw surfaces, which are then stitched or held together in order to form a cover over the vagina when  healed.

During this process, a small hole is left to allow urine and menstrual blood to flow. In some less conventional forms, less tissue is removed and a larger opening is left. Other forms, such as clitoridectomy and infibulations are also practiced.
GAMCOTRAP is one of the lead organizations working in the area of women and girl’s empowerment, FGM and other harmful practices that affect the lives and circumstances of women and girls in the Gambia.  Their years of struggle and countess efforts have contributed significantly to be development of women and girls in the Gambia and elsewhere and has led to over 100(one hundred) circumcisers dropping their knives publicly and abandoning the practice.

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