May 13, 2008, 5:36 AM
Efforts at eradicate female genital mutilation or cutting in The Gambian are indeed gaining momentum.
With another batch of 20 women circumcisers dropping the knife last week, in Soma in the Lower River Region, the prospects of ending the practice in the country seem real.
The third public declaration organised by the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Heath of Women and Girls (GAMCOTRAP) is a commendable initiative.
We are totally in support of the move to completely eradicate FGM in the country, since it is inimical to the health and overall well-being of the girl-child.
We will remain supportive of any national endeavour aimed at promoting the social, cultural, political and overall well-being of Gambians.
FGM, we believe, is not a good cultural practice and, therefore, we are committed in joining Gamcotrap, ADWAC and others fighting against it.
Culture, we know, is not static and, therefore, any culture that is not helping us to grow should be changed.
We, therefore, encourage all and sundry to continue to embrace and promote good cultural practices, and to stop FGM.
We believe that since communities have started seeing the light, thanks to the massive awareness campaigns, the country should not hesitate to legislate against the practice.
The Gambia is a signatory to many international and regional conventions and protocols, such as the African Charter on the Rights of the Child, which seeks to provide protection from harmful practices for children.
Any practice that will result into harming the genital organ of the child is a serious crime, and the perpetuators should in future not go unpunished for their actions.
Prior to this, more community sensitising should be carried out in areas where sensitisation is lacking.
More political commitment is also needed in order for the country to join the list of nations prohibiting FGM/C, sooner than later.
Finally, our commendations go to Gamcotrap under the dynamic leadership of Dr Isatou Touray for their courage and love for Gambian women and girls, despite all challenges.