19 October 2017

Gambia, Senegal Need to Unite to End FGM/C

Binta Jammeh-Sidibeh, the executive director of Women's Bureau has stated that Gambia and Senegal need to unite and work together in ensuring that the deep-rooted traditional cultural practice of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is eliminated.

"Securities apparatus within the border villages of the two countries need to work together to strengthen their mutual understanding and be very vigilant because people are now in the habit of smuggling their children to either take them to border villages of Gambia or Senegal for them to be circumcised," she noted.

The Supreme Islamic Council (SIC), she added, must help them to end the menace. "They should come out and tell Gambians that FGM/C is not a religious belief," Mrs. Sidibeh stated.

She made this remarks in Sotuma Samba Koi village in the Jimara District of the Upper River Region (URR) during a cross-border meeting between Gambia and Senegal.

The one day convergence was organised by Women's Bureau with support from UNICEF.

There are other tribes in the country, she explained, that do not undergo FGM/C but they still are Muslim.

She urged health personnel of the two countries to help in the fight, adding that her office was working tirelessly in ensuring that the practice was halted in the country.

"If we want to succeed in fighting FGM/C we have to do away with the culture of silence, 'Maslaha' syndrome and report perpetrators to the relevant authorities," Mrs. Sidibeh noted.

She acknowledged the fact that eliminating the menace completely in the societies may not be easy. However, with more cross-border meeting, it would be drastically reduced.

For his part, Ousman Baldeh and Ousainatou Sidibeh, both from Madina Yerro Fula of Senegal underscored the significance of the forum. They said such kind of forum was the only way they could eliminate the phenomenon.

Madi Trawally, a detective officer at the Basse Police Station said as far as the issue was of cross-border dimension, the securities of the two countries play a crucial role in arresting the menace.

"We have to establish a joint security team between the two countries that will be looking at people that are smuggling their children for FGM/C purpose," Trawally stated.

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