Law makers in West Africa join fight against FGM/C

International Parliamentary Committee for the abandonmemt of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (ICPA FGM/C) concluded a two day meeting yesterday, 9 May, at the Malian capital, Bamako, with the adoption and election of its statutes and executive committee respectively for the next two years.

ICPA FGM is a sub-regional organisation comprising 8 countries in West Africa and which partners with the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) to collaborate in evolving and implementing effective strategies aimed at putting in place the appropriate legislation and programmes for the abandonment of FGM/C in the sub-region, in particular, and the other parts of Africa, in general.

Hon. Moussa Timbine, 1st deputy speaker of the Malian parliament, deputising the speaker, officially opened the meeting which he described as an important milestone in the efforts aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls against such violations as FGM/C. He saluted the collaboration at both the sub-regional and international levels as demonstrated by the establishment of this partnership by ICPA FGM/C and AWEPA. He pledged the full support of the parliament of Mali in putting in place the appropriate legislation to protect women and girls against this invasive and violent traditional practice of FGM/C, as it is the only country among the eight without such a law.

This two day constitutive meeting was the second following the one held in Saly, Senegal, in June 2016  which was attended by six countries and where the idea of formally constituting and expanding ICPA FGM was agreed. The Gambia and Guinea were the new members and the former was represented by Hon. Ousman Sillah, the National Assembly Member for Banjul North.

During the two days, the parliamentarians from the 8 countries namely The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger together with partners from AWEPA deliberated on the statutes or constitution governing the existence and operation of the organisation which were finally adopted. The parliamentarians also discussed and adopted a plan of action for their activities at both the regional and national levels.

The meeting concluded with the election of a 5 member executive committee to steer the affairs of ICPA FGM/C for the next two years. In an election of which all the candidates went unopposed, Hon. Fatimata Niambali of Mali was elected as President, Hon. Mariam Baba Sy of Mauritania as 1st Vice President, Hon. Henriette Zoumbara Zongo of Burkina Faso as 2nd Vice President, Hon. Abani Fasouma of Niger as Secretary General and Hon. Ousman Sillah of The Gambia as the Treasurer.