Network Against Gender Based Violence (NGBV) Wednesday organised a day-long
orientation forum for National Assembly Members on Gender Based Violence (GBV)
and sharing of research findings on the deep-rooted cultural tradition practice
of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Held at a local hotel in Bakau, organisers say one of the key activities of involving the NAMs was to orient them on the project and some of its activities and to conduct with them, field and projects side monitoring visit with a view to enable them understand and learn about the project.
Speaking at the forum, deputy clerk of the National Assembly Daniel Carlos spoke on the significance of the forum, assuring their continued commitment in the campaign to eradicate all forms of sexual violence and FGM against women.
He said in the past years, national assembly has enacted many laws, ranging from sexual offences and domestic violence Acts and the enactment of Women Act, among others. “We need to find space to implement what the laws dictate.”
The executive chairperson of NGBV, Antoinette Corr said the persistent of GBV is a great concern for all, saying violence against women and girls is the most serious crime and widely spread human right violation that anyone can think about.
“The protection of women and girls need our special attention. However, there can be no genuine equality between men and women if women experience GBV in a large scale and if state agencies and societies perceive on the matter. Our partnership and solidarity is absolutely vital in addressing the many challenges confronting us,” she noted.
Mrs. Corr, who also double as the general secretary of The Gambia Teachers Union added that despite the progress made so far, women and girls continue to be discriminated. “Therefore, we have the obligation to fully address the issues in all its forms and to take measures to prevent violence against women’s, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators.”
Executive director of Action Aid International The Gambia, Omar Badgie said his office places high regard on women rights issues, saying GBV happens at different levels, ranging from family, community and national levels.
“Family level is more critical and it is the complex level. We should tackle that to be able to deal with the menace. If we don’t tackle it GBV at family levels, we will not fight it as it is the building block.”
Chairman of the NAMs select committee on women, children and health Ousman Sillah emphasised the importance of the forum, saying that it will go a long way in complementing their efforts, particularly on their oversight functions. He said FGM is a violation of women’s rights, saying the law banning the act will never change. “What we need is to improve on them. Research has proven that there is no social benefit and no economic justification of FGM.”0