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Bill to reverse Gambia Female Genital Mutilation ban reaches next stage


March 19, 2024

Gambian lawmakers on Monday debated whether to repeal a ban on female genital mutilation, which has been on the rise in recent years despite activist campaigns to end the practice.

The small West African nation imposed steep fines and jail sentences in 2015 for those who carry out female circumcision, known by the acronym FGM.

The World Health Organization says the practice has no health benefits and can lead to excessive bleeding, shock, psychological problems and even death.

Lawmaker Almameh Gibba presented the repeal bill earlier this month, arguing the ban violates citizens’ rights to practice their culture and religion. Gambia is an overwhelmingly Muslim country.

If the bill is passed, Gambia would become the first country to reverse a ban on FGM.

After debating the bill, the lawmakers voted by 42 to four to send it to a parliamentary committee for review, the parliament’s speaker said.