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Gambian Lawmakers Adopt Recommendations to Sustain FGM Ban

Gambian lawmakers have endorsed recommendations by nation’s joint health and gender committee to uphold the country’s ban on female genital mutilation (FGM). This sets the stage for a crucial vote on July 24 regarding the potential decriminalization of the practice. The endorsement happened on Monday with 35 lawmakers voting for, 17 opposing, and two abstaining. Despite being outlawed since 2015, the practice remains prevalent in the West African country. Last year, public discontent against the ban reached a high when three women were convicted for cutting eight infant girls. The convictions, the first since the enactment of the law that banned the practice, ignited backlash and led to the current legislative debate about whether to repeal or sustain it. Should parliament vote to decriminalize FGM, Gambia would become the first nation to reverse its ban. Proponents of decriminalization argue it infringes on cultural and religious practices.

SOURCE: VOA