Isatu Bokum’s IWD Message: A Call to Action Against the Repeal of Gambia’s FGM Bill

Image of Isatu Bokum delivering a speech or holding a sign advocating against the repeal of Gambia's FGM bill.

As the world marks International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to honoring the strength and resilience of women worldwide, it is crucial to address a pressing issue endangering the rights and well-being of girls and women in The Gambia.

In recent weeks, The Gambia has been in a heated debate over whether to maintain the anti-FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) bill, which safeguards girls from a longstanding traditional practice. This discussion has dominated headlines, sparking intense dialogue across the country.

Isatu Bokum, an advocate for women’s and girls’ rights, utilized her message on International Women’s Day to urge the Gambian government to reject any potential repeal of the anti-FGM law. She underscored the importance of preserving this legislation as a crucial step in safeguarding the dignity and well-being of girls and women in The Gambia.

Read the message below.

 

“ Today, on International Women’s Day, I find myself in the solitude of the night, grappling with profound thoughts. I am deeply troubled by the imminent threat posed by the potential repeal of the anti-FGM law. My heart aches at the mere contemplation of the impending disaster and the inevitable suffering it will inflict on countless girls. The prospect of all

our painstaking efforts to protect them being rendered futile is truly devastating.

However, amidst this turmoil, I draw solace in our collective resilience. Civil society activists, and survivors of FGM-we’ve fought tirelessly and remain committed to protecting women and girls. On this day, I extend solidarity to all who stand for truth, even in adversity. May our dedication ensure that our efforts are not in vain.

This International Women’s Day, we urge the Gambian government to take a firm stance against the repeal of the FGM Bill. Silence and inaction on this issue contradict the government’s commitment to protecting the rights and well-being of women and girls. Inciting the practice of FGM is illegal in The Gambia, and measures must be taken to hold perpetrators accountable.”

 

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