Women working to stop female genital mutulation and other atrocities against women unfairly detained

Dear Readers,  I usually place these announcements under WLUML alerts page.  I am placing this here because I want you to know that atrocities against women and children continue to happen the world over.  How do we stop this madness?


THE GAMBIA: The Unfair Prosecution of two Women Human Rights Defenders Must Stop

Paris-Geneva, January 9, 2012. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), denounces the interminable judicial harassment faced by two women human rights defenders in The Gambia.

On January 11, 2012, the criminal case “the State versus Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho” will resume, marking the 41st hearing since the opening of the trial in November 2010 before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court. Dr. Isatou Touray and Ms. Amie Bojang-Sissoho, respectively Executive Director and Programme Coordinator of The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), an organisation working on sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and children, are prosecuted on charges of “theft” for the alleged embezzlement of 30,000 euros received in 2009 from “Yolocamba Solidaridad”, a Spanish development NGO. The judicial harassment has been going on for more than a year and a half, when the police started interrogations of GAMCOTRAP staff.

On January 31, 2011, Ms. Begoña Ballestros Sanchez, Director of Yolocamba Solidaridad, denied accusing anyone associated with GAMCOTRAP of theft and submitting a complaint in relation thereof during a hearing at Banjul Magistrate’s Court. During interrogation, which took six hearings, Ms. Isatou Touray had to respond to very precise questions by the Prosecutor covering all aspects of GAMCOTRAP’s activities, staff and resources that are unrelated to the charges. He also repeatedly made depreciating comments about the work of GAMCOTRAP’s programme to eradicate female genital mutilation.

The Observatory believes that the criminal case against Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho merely aims at intimidating them and impeding GAMCOTRAP from carrying out its activities for the promotion and protection of human rights. More generally, it also aims at intimidating the Gambian civil society and, more particularly, those who stand up for human rights.

The Observatory firmly denounces this continuing judicial harassment and calls upon the Gambian authorities to guarantee that human rights defenders can carry out their activities free of any hindrances and stop any kind of harassment – including at the judicial level – against human rights defenders, in line with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights instruments ratified by The Gambia.

For more information, please contact:

  • FIDH: Karine Appy / Arthur Manet: + 33 1 43 55 25 18
  • OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: + 41 22 809 49 39

1 Comment
  1. We all know that this is not simply mutilation.
    The male species simply seizes the POWER to do it.
    It occurs to me the abuse can be done because the female of the species is smallest, or smaller.I no, that is trite to say the least. However the killers, the mutilators, here are the male species. And I know the mutilators, killers are few in number.

    However it appears that the numbers are growing as we stand by and let it occur.
    Is this possible? I would say yes.
    The whole issue of what is happening, and how it is happening is so similar to the polygamist edict; both issues seem to be, because the larger of the species is letting it.

    We all know that it is a coward that does this. We all know that the coward needs, indeed must have, the control. i.e., the poor woman student at UBC having her sight literaly ripped from he by her husband as the little child stands watching, and screaming.
    I ramble here but one of you must have thought this..
    I pray now that the large majority of our male species steps in and HELPS make it stop. Just as Occupy has. Can the mutilation stop with a new AG? With his/her COMMON SENSE it can be done.
    Together we must make it stop. Together we can.

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