third international forum on Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C)
organised by Wassu Kafo Gambia, a local nongovernmental organisation promoting
the creation of critical space to present the current situation of FGM/C in
Africa and Diaspora is currently underway at Coral beach Hotel in Brufut.
European Union Ambassador to The Gambia Attila Lajos said at the opening of the forum that gender equality is very essential in all society, saying that in The Gambia, there are different set of rules for women and men and gender can be equal when the rules are the same.
He said FGM/C might be a tradition or culture for some people but it does not make FGM right because it is a violation on women rights. Mr. Lajos believes that the main challenge is the struggle for gender equality which is a global challenge.
Ousman Sillah, chairman of the National Assembly select-community on health, women, children, disaster, refugees and humanitarian relief said the main objective of the forum is to give update on the research on FGM/C, to educate and teach the society.
According to him, Wassu Kafo Gambia’s decision to hold the forum in The Gambia is a good idea, saying it is one of the countries that openly practiced FGM/C until it was banned in 2016. “FGM is very harmful and it is a violation on the rights of women and girls. If the right of a woman is violated, it is seen as normal or culture but if the right of a man is violated it would be seen as a violation.”
Health minister Dr. Isatou Touray said in The Gambia, about one hundred and forty girls are living with the consequences of FGM, either sexual or reproductive. She said FGM affects a child’s health, saying research has indicated that female who underwent FGM would have problems during childbirth or the child may die.
She added that in 2016, a law was passed to ban FGM and early marriage in The Gambia, saying that the initiative of Wassu Kafo is right and they are very pleased to work with them.
She urged young people to engage the communities on the side effects of FGM, saying FGM is not only a problem for The Gambia but it is an international problem.