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Gambian MPs uphold Jammeh-era law that bans skin bleaching

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The Gambian National Assembly on Monday voted to uphold a ban on skin bleaching. The vote followed a heated debate in parliament, according to local media reports.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice presented the bill titled: “Skin Bleaching (Prohibition) (Repeal) 2020.” It was one of four motions according to a list of business in parliament posted on Twitter.

The Minister had argued that criminalising people for using cosmetic products was an unfair punishment. But lawmakers were in favour of maintaining the ban.

“The chemicals used in the production of skin-bleaching creams is hazardous to human health,” Momodou Camara, an MP, was quoted as saying by AFP.

The West African country banned skin bleaching in 1996 during the presidency of exiled Yahya Jammeh – who was in power for more than 20 years.

The 1996 law passed under Mr Jammeh (1994-2017) bans the import of skin lightening products and punishes importers with a fine of 30,000 dalasis ($400). The fine imposed on users is 5,000 dalasis ($100).

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