The Point (Banjul)

6 February 2013

Gambia: Zero Tolerance for Mutilation

Activists and groups all over the world are today marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, FGM.

The day is observed each year to raise awareness about the practice that is highly practised, but said to be inimical to the well-being of the girl child and women in general.

Female genital mutilation of any type has been recognised as a harmful practice and violation of the human rights of girls and women.

The practice involved all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Female genital mutilation is said to have no health benefits to the victims and is being prohibited in many countries in the world, through legislations and regulations.

In The Gambia, over the years significant progress has been made, thanks to the continuous efforts of civil society organisations, such as Gamcotrap, ADWAC, TOSTAN, etc. just to name a few.

The practice on the contrary is associated with a series of short and long-term risks, including physical, mental and sexual health and well-being.

FGM is affecting about 140 million girls and women, reports say, and more than 3 million girls are at risk every year.

We, therefore, urge the activists to intensify their efforts in the campaign; and implore our law- makers to also prohibit the practice for the protection of innocent girls and women.

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