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HomeGambia NewsGAMBIA: WOMEN'S AMENDMENT ACT APPROVED BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

GAMBIA: WOMEN’S AMENDMENT ACT APPROVED BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

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The National Assembly Joint Committee on Gender and Health’s report on the Women (Amendment) Bill 2024 was adopted by the National Assembly Members on Monday.

Hon. Amadou Camara, the co-chairperson of the Joint Committee, presented the report to the legislators for their consideration and adoption.

Hon. Camara detailed in his presentation that the Joint Committee conducted a comprehensive review of the proposed amendment clauses of the Bill, utilising witness testimonies and position papers. He emphasised that the review process considered the overall objective and ramifications of the proposed amendments, ensuring that the Bill is consistent with the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia and other national laws.

The floor was opened for debate by the speaker of the house following the presentation.

The repeal of the FGM law was introduced by Hon. Almameh Gibba, the National Assembly member for the Foni Kansala constituency, who expressed significant opposition. He accused the committee of betraying the trust of the Muslim community in the country.

“I have observed biases in the versions’ consultation stakeholders that do not align with the aspirations and desires of the Gambian people.” We are discussing a population of 2.6 million. Hon. Speaker, I am currently reviewing this sixteen-page report. The prohibition of female circumcision is the act that we are striving to repeal, and the Chair of the committee continues to emphasise FGM. We are present to rectify the error. In addition, he advised, “Be courageous enough to speak the truth.”

Hon. Gibba stated that they are prepared to participate in a guerilla conflict if their sisters or mothers are incarcerated for practicing their culture.

He contended that the report was unsuitable for its intended purpose due to its borrowing and influence by Western donors.

The National Assembly Member for Lower Fulladou, Hon. Gibbi Mballow, underscored the fact that women in The Gambia are entitled to greater, and the report is designed to contribute to their development.

“The era of the razor blade is concluding today; the era of the knife must come to an end. The women of this nation deserve better, and this report is intended to facilitate that improvement.” It is impossible to conceal oneself behind Islam and wish to inflict suffering that has a significant negative impact. He stated, “The women of this country have endured an immense amount of suffering. Enough is enough.”

The report was also met with dissatisfaction by Hon. Amie Colley, the National Assembly member for the Foni Berefet constituency.

“I do not endorse this report or the recommendation in my capacity as a committee member.” She stated, “We were supposed to conduct a constituency consultation, but we never did.”

The report was criticised by Lamin Ceesay, the National Assembly Member for Kiang West constituency, for its insufficient information and failure to include data on the complications and fatalities resulting from the practice.

The speaker requested a vote on the adoption and deliberation of the report following a contentious discussion. The results were as follows: 35 members were in favour, 17 were against, and 2 members were absent.

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