Anfragebeantwortung zu Gambia: Informationen zur Lage von Personen, die sich oder jemand anderen einer traditionellen Praktik, insbesondere der Beschneidung, entziehen [a-10791-3 (10793)]

14. Dezember 2018

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Die folgenden Ausschnitte aus ausgewählten Quellen enthalten Informationen zu oben genannter Fragestellung (Zugriff auf alle Quellen am 14. Dezember 2018):


·      IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada: The Gambia: The practice of female genital mutilation (FGM); treatment of people and NGOs who oppose the practice; state protection provided to victims and to people who oppose the practice (2016-May 2018) [GMB106103.FE], 18. Mai 2018

„UNICEF reports that according to the data from the MICS [Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey] 2010, 65 percent of girls and women aged 15 to 49 in The Gambia who have heard about FGM [female genital mutilation] think the practice should continue (UN Feb. 2016). An article published in the magazine Obstetrics and Gynecology International reports that 61.8 percent of Gambian men think that the practice should continue and 60.7 percent of them intend to have it performed on their daughters (Kaplan et al. 2013, 4).

UNICEF reports that ‘FGM/C [female genital mutilation/cutting] is performed in line with tradition and social norms to ensure that girls are socially accepted and marriageable, and to uphold their status and honour and that of the entire family’ (UN Feb. 2016). According to The Girl Generation, ‘[a] variety of drivers uphold the social norms which maintain the practice of FGM,’ including respect for tradition and elders, knowing the rites of passage, high acceptance of gender-based violence, cleanliness and virginity - which are associated with FGM - and religion (the perception varies significantly across ethnic groups, and so religion is not an independent driver in itself) (The Girl Generation Jan. 2016, 5). The study of changes and trends also reports that ‘[d]espite the fact that FGM/C has no religious origin or justification, the practice is commonly perceived as an Islamic duty in The Gambia, constituting one of the main arguments invoked for its continuation’ (Kaplan et al. 12 Apr. 2016, 104-105). […]

Information on the treatment of persons and NGOs opposing FGM was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

In its Information Note on The Gambia, the United Kingdom (UK) Home Office reports that ‘[a] person who is the parent of a minor child who is opposed to them undergoing FGM may face societal discrimination and ostracism for going against cultural or family traditions’ (UK Dec. 2016, 6).

Adriana Kaplan states that those who see FGM as their culture, tradition and religious obligation are ‘always defensive’ and see NGOs fighting for the abandonment of the practice as ‘people paid by Westerners to convince them to leave or go against their cultural practices’; in that respect, that same source states that some NGOs have shown ‘aggressiv[eness]’ and, for example, showed images and films that shocked the local people (Kaplan 3 May 2018). However, she added that the more ‘cultural sensitive approaches’ of the country were welcomed in The Gambia (Kaplan 3 May 2018).

Sources report that in February 2018, an anti-FGM march was organized in The Gambia by Jaha [Mapenzi] Dukureh (The African Courier 28 Feb. 2018; ES 2 Feb. 2018); in this context, Jaha Dukureh stated the following: ‘In Gambia you used to not be able to talk about FGM. It would have been unimaginable for us to do anything at this level a few years ago. But we are expecting more than 1,000 people, and students have been given permission to join us’ (ES 2 Feb. 2018).

An article from the Gambian newspaper The Point reports that the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), a Gambian women’s rights NGO that works against FGM (GAMCOTRAP n.d.), is supported by the Gambian government and the UNFPA in its awareness activities in the North Bank Region on educating the population about the consequences of FGM and popularizing the Women's (Amendment) Act 2015 (The Point 28 Mar. 2017).“ (IRB, 18. Mai 2018)

·      The Point: International Child protection and Human rights Law on Female Genital Mutilation Female Genital Mutilation: A Violation Of Human Rights No health benefits, only harm and who is at risk, 2. Jänner 2018

„The practice is such a powerful social norm that families have their daughters cut even when they are aware of the harm it can cause. If families were to stop practicing on their own they would risk the marriage prospects of their daughter as well as the family’s status.” (The Point, 2. Jänner 2018)

·      Shell-Duncan, Bettina/Moreau, Amadou/Wander, Katherine/Smith, Sarah: The role of older women in contesting norms associated with female genital mutilation/cutting in Senegambia: A factorial focus group analysis, 25. Juli 2018 (veröffentlicht von PLOS ONE)

„In the process of analysis, emergent themes were grouped into four main overarching themes related to: 1) pressure to conform, 2) tradition, 3) upholding social hierarchy, and 4) health. While the first theme, pressure to conform, reflect the ways in which social norms are enforced through sanctions or internalization of moral values, the remaining themes describes the intertwined norms, meanings and rationales for performing FGM/C [female genital mutilation/cutting], and the ways in which these notions are being upheld or disputed. […]

The emergent themes related to the overarching theme of pressure to conform are summarized in Table 1. We find that pressure to conform arises from several sources: negative sanctions for uncut girls or women and their families experienced in the form of ostracization and peer pressure or judgment on proper parenting, and internalized moral norms regarding the link between being cut and embodying virtue.

With the growing acceptability of inter-ethnic marriages, it has become increasingly common for uncut women to marry into families that carry the tradition of FGM/C, and the frequent intra-familial discord between cut and uncut women throws into sharp relief the ostracization of those women who have not undergone FGM/C. Uncut women from these FGM/C-discordant families commonly report not just disapproval from female kin in their marital homes and community, but also verbal abuse, harassment, and exclusion. Consistent with earlier work, we find that women and girls who have not undergone FGM/C are often contemptuously labeled ‘solema,’ a powerful invective translating literally as ‘uncut,’ but also meaning rude, ignorant, sexually unrestrained, uncivilized and unclean. Uncircumcised women generally have little opportunity to oppose the circumcision of their own daughters and they are not allowed to attend the ceremonies or even to visit their daughter during the healing process. In many ways these women remain marginalized in their new compounds; some report that excised family members cast insults at uncut women, refuse to eat food that they prepare, and exclude them from family events such as weddings, as well as from general household decision making and serious discussions among mature women.

We interpret much of the teasing and exclusion that uncircumcised girls and women experience as part of circumcised girls and women using their cut status as a powerful marker of identity, and to demark insider status that affords inclusion and access to social support. Such female social pressure manifests itself not only in the context of inter-ethnic marriage, but also in mixed-ethnicity peer groups of girls and young women.

Even the children insult their mates who are not circumcised as ‘solema.’ It is common to hear children calling their fellow children: ‘You solemas, you will not follow us (hang out with us).’

 -Young Mandinka woman, rural Gambia

Parents who choose not to circumcise a girl commonly face judgments about whether they are raising their girl properly, an issue that is understood to influence standing of the entire extended family.

Such a child (a circumcised girl) brings a good reputation to her family members, especially her parents since everyone knows they have raised this girl to behave (properly).

–Older Mandinka woman, rural Gambia

Pressure to conform arose not only from negative sanctions such as exclusion and insults, but also from internalized moral norms. Research has suggested observations of disparaging treatment of other social groups can lead to the development of internalized evaluations of right and wrong, and that may persist when the group is not present. In line with this, we observe that for many women from circumcising families, FGM/C represents an embodiment of moral virtue. The practice is a constitutive element in the construction of identity and personhood that holds meaning beyond simply that of body modification; the physical act of cutting can have a morally transformative value, as virtue and honor become inscribed upon the body. Women who have been cut are described as ‘smooth,’ ‘clean,’ and ‘pure,’ as well as morally superior to uncut women. Conversely, uncut women are frequently described in terms of social difference, condemnation and repulsion: they ‘smell,’ and are ‘unclean’ and scorned. Moreover, we found that even when cut women had come to question the value of FGM/C due to health risks, legal restrictions, or other reasons, they often found it difficult to discard notions of immorality, malodorousness, and repugnance of uncut women, and commonly expressed conflicting views on their feeling about continuation of the practice.

When themes related to pressure and exclusion were raised, there was consistently a positive consensus (Table 1). These themes did not arise in all discussion groups, and were raised less in rural Senegal; we interpret this to mean that pressure to conform among both girls and women may be less relevant. Programs aimed at abandonment of FGM/C and/or legal restrictions may have lessened social pressure. Alternatively, it may be the case that in this low prevalence region, women with FGM/C form social ties with uncut women, and hence experience less pressure to conform with the practice. Contrary to predictions in some of the FGM/C literature, pressure to conform was not reduced in our urban study site. The topics of moral virtue and aesthetics of cutting were, by contrast, raised in all our focus groups. Thus, regardless of shifting social circumstances and possible alterations in negative sanctions, internalized moral norms appear particularly resistant to change among all women in our study, irrespective of age or location of residence.“ (Shell-Duncan/Moreau/Wander/Smith, 25. Mai 2018)