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BBC Newsday BBC Monitoring
World Service radio The world through its media
The Gambian parliament will on Monday vote on a bill to reverse the ban on female genital mutilation (FGM). Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and visiting Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held bilateral talks in Asmara, the Eritrea's capital.
A vote will be During the "extensive" meeting on Sunday, the two leaders discussed regional issues, including Somalia's fight against militants, Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Meskel posted on X.
taken in the bill's second reading and after that if the house agrees, the bill Talks on "important regional and global topics" also featured in their meeting, state-owned Somali National News Agency said, without providing more details.
will be taken through a committee for further scrutiny. This was President Mohamud’s second visit to Eritrea this year and the sixth since he
The bill was introduced to parliament earlier this month by independent lawmaker Almammeh Gibba, who said it sought to "uphold religious purity and safeguard cultural norms and values". came to power in May 2022, highlighting the strong relations between the two
Though FGM was countries.
criminalised in The Gambia in 2015, some seek to overturn the ban claiming President Mohamud last visited Asmara in January amid tension with neighbouring
that it violates religious freedom and is against the country's cultural Ethiopia over a port deal between Addis Ababa and the self-declared republic of
practices. Somaliland. The deal is contested by the Somali government.
But local and international human rights groups are urging lawmakers to vote against it, saying decriminalising FGM would endanger girls and women. A video shared on X (formerly Twitter) shows President Afwerki and visiting President Mohamud strolling in the streets of Asmara, with residents
Over 73% of women and girls aged between 15-49 have undergone some cheering and taking pictures.
form of FGM in The Gambia, which ranks among the top 10 African countries where FGM Eritrea has been training thousands of Somali soldiers to boost the Somali army as African Union troops are expected to
is prevalent, according to the UN. withdraw from the Horn of Africa country at the end of this year.
The FGM rate drops to 46% among girls aged 14 and younger, according to Unicef.
Only two cases have been prosecuted and one conviction secured since The
Gambia's FGM ban in 2015, human
rights group Amnesty International says.
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