We firmly believe that it is right time for we as a country to also put in place laws prohibiting the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, FGM.
All girls indeed deserve the right to grow up free from harmful practices that endanger their health and well-being.
FGM, no doubt, is one particular harmful traditional practice that has severe health implications for the girl-child.
The practice has serious immediate and long-term health effects, and is a clear violation of fundamental human rights.
Meanwhile, we recognise the efforts of the civil society organizations such as The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, GAMCOTRAP, BAFROW, TOSTAN and others who over the years have put in a lot of resources and energy to see the practice ended in this country.
We also appreciate the support of development partners such as UNFPA, UNICEF and the US embassy, among others, for empowering local NGOs to create the much-needed awareness at the community level.
It was as a result of their community outreach programmes and sensitisation campaigns using the rights-based approach that more and more communities are coming together to put an end to FGM.
We call on more partners and communities to join the crusade in this critical effort of protecting innocent girls from harm.
Since it has been widely accepted in The Gambia that FGM/C is not a religious injunction, but rather a cultural practice, we call on people to consider abandoning it now.
So many cultural practices have been stopped in the country after people realised that they are not in our best interest.
Therefore, one such cultural practice that needed to be legislated against is FGM/C.
Social norms and cultural practices are changing, and communities should unite to protect the rights of girls.