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Gambia outlaws female genital mutilation

By Kavelle Christie     Dec 31, 2015 in World
Gambia has joined at least 20 African countries to ban the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), an antiquated tradition involving the partial or full removal of the female genitalia.
The widely condemned practice was banned by Gambia's parliament on Monday and offenders will face stringent penalties.
Under the new law, anyone who engages in female genital mutilation, often referred to as female circumcision, can face up to three years in prison or a fine of $U.S. 50,000 ($A68,670).
A move toward a permanent ban was first announced in November when the country's information ministry cited President Yahya Jammeh condemning the practice as having no place in modern society or Islam.
Berhane Raswork, an anti-FGM activist and the founder of The Inter-African Committee, previously told [url=http:// t=_blank]Al Jazeera: "This is a result of the work undertaken by some non-governmental organisations and women activists who fought against FGM for something like 30 years at different levels, including the UN system."
Raswork also noted that misapplication of religions helped to impose a "patriarchal system in order to control the female body and most of all its reproductive role."
More than 130 million women worldwide have been subjected to the painful surgery in Africa and the Middle East; often leading to serious infections, bleeding, infertility, maternal complications and even death in some cases..
A 2013 UNICEF report stated the widespread nature of the practice in numerous African countries, including the Gambia, where 76% of females have been subjected to it. Additionally, in a 2015 report, 28 Too Many, an organization working to end FGM in Africa, noted that by the age of 14, 56 percent of female children in the country have endured the procedure.
More about Gambia, Female genital mutilation, Fgm, Female circumcision, Circumcision
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