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Gambian lawmaker tables bill to repeal FGM ban

In this April 21, 2007 file photo, a Masai girl holds a protest sign during the anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) protest in Kilgoris, Kenya.   -  
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A Gambian lawmaker has tabled a bill seeking to repeal the Women’s (Amendment) Act 2015 which banned circumcision and other FGM.

The bill was tabled at the national assembly for a first reading on Monday (Mar. 04).

Circumcision involves the cutting or altering of the external female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Under the current law in the Gambia, a person convicted of performing FGM faces up to three years in prison, a fine of 50,000 dalasi (£622), or both, the guardian.org reported. Where FGM leads to death, the perpetrator could face life imprisonment, it added.

However, the bill sponsor Almameh Gibba is among those in the country who firmly believe that FGM is not only cultural but a religious rite as well.

The Gambia's population is predominantly Muslim.

The issue is divise in Islam. Some scholars have banned FGM when others don't. 

Since the ban was introduced nearly a decade ago, debates hasvebeen ongoing in the country. Last August, in – the first prosecution under the 2015 law –, three women were convicted of FGM. One of The Gambia's infulencial cleric supported them.

The Gambia's National Assembly deputy Speaker seedy Njie told newspaper the Standard there is a strong commitment from the majority caucus to ensure that the bill is defeated.

Accordign to the WHO, more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is practiced.

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