Kiang West NAM to Anti-FGM Activists: ‘We Will Decriminalize It Here’

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The National Assembly Member for Kiang West, Honorable Lamin Ceesay

The National Assembly Member for Kiang West, Lamin Ceesay, Thursday said in parliament that they would submit a private member’s bill in the next session to repeal the law that prohibits the practice of Female Genital Circumcision/Mutilation (FGC/M), as his constituents are against the criminalization of the act.

It came amidst widespread criticism and condemnation by human rights activists of members of the National Assembly who have pledged to repeal the Gambian law, which criminalized the practice.

So far, more than ten National Assembly Members have publicly expressed support for repealing the law.

Ceesay spoke during the debate on the adjournment motion, reiterating his opposition to criminalizing the practice and declaring that criticizing the practice is unacceptable to Muslims who believe the practice is Islamic.

“This is our religion and a no-go-area for anybody. We will bring a private member’s bill to repeal the criminalization of female circumcision.”

He asked the anti-FGM/C activists to go out and spend the money they receive from their foreign partners to sensitize people to stop it, “on training our people and give them health care equipment to do it properly.

“But to ask us to stop what our religion commands us to do; we will not do that,” he added.

“We will decriminalize it here. We are the members of parliament, the representatives of our people, and our people are not supporting this law,” he continued.

The practice of FGC/M was criminalized in The Gambia in 2015 under former president Yahya Jammeh.

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