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GAMBIA: GAMBIA TO BE A NO-GO AREA FOR PAEDOPHILES

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As child sex abuses and other forms of gender based violence (GBV) surge, Gambia’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Fatou Kinteh, has warned that the government will adopt a tough-on-crime policy to fight off the menace.

“We want to make Gambia a no-go area for pedophiles. We are concerned about protecting our children who are the future of this nation,” she told reporters during a presser held at the Bakoteh-based Gender Management Information System (GMIS) Center.

Over these past years, GBV cases have been making headlines, raising concerns in many quarters. GBV data collected by GMIS shows that the center received 310 survivors, highlighting cases reported from January to July 2023.

She expressed concerns over the disturbing trend of GBV cases in the country, and made it clear that drastic measures will be taken against perpetrators.

Minister Kinteh further stated that a committee was recently set up and it is comprised of the ministries of tourism, interior and gender, and which is tasked to work on pedophile cases.

An investigation by Malagen revealed that a European national subjected two kids to rape and sexual assault. 

Commenting on the issue, the Minister who was in the dark about the issue reported by the investigative online news site, deplored the fact that a good number of cases got withdrawn by family members, barring justice to take its normal course.

“To prevent that from happening, we are going to prosecute all reported cases,” she voiced out while announcing that plans are at advanced stage for the establishment of a special court on GBV.

In a similar vein, UNFPA Country Rep, Ndéye Rose Sarr, seized the opportunity to reiterate the UN agency support to combating GBV.

“It is affecting all the age range, especially children between 10 and 14 years who are the most affected and tend to be neglected,” she deplored.

Sarr then added that they are followed wrestling with their adolescence. She cited rape cases as topping the GBV list as 32% of those who reported GBV cases are willing to take the matter up with the court, contrasting to the 65% of people who did not want to take legal action.

Many observers are blaming patriarchy for fuelling the law of silence that is harmful to women and girls.

“We are encouraging a culture of safety and freedom for the empowerment of women and the girl,” she concluded.

By Abdoulie John

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