Sarjo Camara Singateh
The Executive Director of the Gambia Committee on Harmful Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), Dr. Isatou Touray, has called on the youth of Kombo East to be au fait with the national and international laws and instruments that protect the rights of women and children.She said this at the closing of the sensitization sessions, organized by GAMCOTRAP and funded by Save the Children International, for the clusters of Dasilameh, Brikama Nyambai, Santosu, Busara and Kembujeh from the 12th to 16th January 2015.
Dr. Touray also called on them to be civic minded citizens and to do everything possible to seek knowledge for development and empowerment.
The Anti – Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) campaigner told the participants that tradition/culture is dynamic and that FGM is harmful and it should not be encouraged as a practice.
The GAMCOTRAP Director said women‘s rights are human rights, adding that they are inalienable, inherent, inseparable and universal to all.
For her part, Mrs Amie Bojang Sissoho, the Coordinator in charge of Information Education and Communication of GAMCOTRAP, dilated on the issues of gender based violence, early marriage, and forced marriage.
She said the Women’s Act 2010 states that widows should not be subjected to inhuman, humiliating or degrading treatment, and added that she should automatically become the guardian and custodian of her children after the death of her husband, unless this is contrary to the interests and the welfare of the children and that she has the right to remarry, and in that event, to marry the person of her choice, subject to personal law.
The GAMCOTRAP Coordinator cited Section 2 of the Act which states that widows have the right to an equitable share in the inheritance of the property of her husband, subject to personal law; that a widow has the right to continue to live in the matrimonial home, subject to personal law; and that in case of remarriage, a widow shall retain the right to live in her previous matrimonial home if it belongs to her or if she has inherited it.
Mrs. Bojang also spoke on the Sexual Offence and the Gender Based Violence Acts which, she said, are aimed at addressing some of the abnormalities taking place in society. She said there is no license given to anyone to rape a woman as many tend to justify it for the way women dress.
Ms. Fatoumata Touray, the GAMCOTRAP Youth Coordinator, said parents should expose children to the gender division of labour in their homes. She said according to the Children’s Act, a child is defined as someone from 0 to 18 years and that parents have a huge role to treat them equally and fairly. She noted that all children are equal before the law.
For her part, Mrs. Mary Small, the Senior Programme Coordinator at GAMCOTRAP, made a presentation on the human anatomy and the effects of FGM on the girl/woman. She dwelled on the effects of sexually transmitted diseases on both male and female organs.
Following the presentations, the gathering reached a consensus and called for a law to ban Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Gambia.
Sarjo Camara Singateh