Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang Sissoho are two prominent women’s human rights defenders in the Gambia. They are the executive director and program coordinator of the Gambia Committee for Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), which has been active in fighting for the promotion of gender rights, mainly fighting against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
Recently, both women were arrested and imprisoned by the Gambian government. They were recently released on bail and stand trial soon. Arrested on bogus charges of embezzlement, their arrest represents the contentious debate surrounding FGM and the Gambian government’s animosity towards human rights defenders.
GAMCOTRAP has been accused of misappropriating 30,000 euros from another NGO in Spain called Yolocamba Solidaridad. A panel organized by the government has been investigating the matter, thus leading to their prosecution. A conflict between two NGOs is not usually the place for a government to step in. Even the leader of Yolocamba has called for their release, stating that the problem is administrative, rather than criminal. While this issue has received a great deal of attention from international organizations, I have yet to see it be covered in the mainstream media.