Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gambia: Agency joins massive worldwide fight to end violence against women

A procession against Female Genital Mutilation February 6, 2012 during Zero Tolerance to FGM celebrations (Photo credit: The Daily News)
A local women rights agency in The Gambia Thursday joined the global campaign “One billion rising to end violence against women”.
The massive global campaign is a call to action based on the horrifying global statistics that “one in three women experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime; 60 million girls are sexually assaulted on their way to or from school; and 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime”.

The campaign is initiated by One Billion Rising, an inspiring global movement. 

On Feb. 14, 2013, the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (Gamcotrap), organised a procession from the traffic lights junction in Fajara to the offices of the Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in The Gambia (TANGO), in Kanifing.

With participants chanting “end violence against women” on the streets of the Kanifing Municipality, a densely populated area, Gamcotrap once again brought to the fore a critical topic in a country where exist violence against women.

Gamcotrap, a leading women’s rights organisation in The Gambia, works on sexual and reproduction health and rights of women and girls.

Extreme violence 

Beachside with a donkey cart in Gambia. França...
Beachside with a donkey cart in Gambia. Français : Le bord de mer et une charrette tirée par un âne. Gambie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is a part of the many reasons that the organisation is proud to be associated with the One Billion Rising to end violence against women, said Omar Dibba, the agency’s youth programme coordinator.

“Young people, this day belong to you, it is your day and moment to say no to violence in all its forms; it is your moment to champion the global fight and honour the lives of women and girls,” Mr Dibba said.

Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC, defines violence as all forms of physical or mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.

“The most extreme forms of violence against children include sexual exploitation and child trafficking, female genital mutilation, worst forms of child labour and impact of armed conflict,” Musukuta Badjie said. 

The Programme Officer Child Protection Alliance (CPA) said violations are happening on a daily basis where children are exposed to physical, sexual and physiological violence in homes, schools and institutions.

Youth activist Siaka Dibba said “men have crucial role to play as fathers, brothers, husbands, friends, decision-makers, community, and opinion leaders by speaking and acting against violence against women and girls.
Gambia costume
Gambia costume (Photo credit: Muchaxo)

This will ensure priority attention is given to this issue, Mr Dibba stressed.

Criminalize FGM

On Thursday, people around the world rise up together to protest, dance, march, and sing in a shared voice to demand an end to violence against women and girls.
One Billion Rising campaign was observed by human rights activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, women and men worldwide who express outrage, demand for justice, demonstrate, and rise in defiance of the injustices women are suffering.

On Feb. 6, 2013, Gamcotrap reiterated calls to the Gambia Government to criminalize female genital mutilation, FGM, during celebrations marking International Zero Tolerance to FGM.

The tiny West African country is still notorious of cultural practices like FGM, which is known to be inimical to health and well-being of women and children. 

Written by Modou S. Joof

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