Gambia government overturns hair covering law

Gambia's government says law stating all female staff working with government must cover their hair during office hours overturned

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.

Gambia's government says it has lifted a recent directive stating that all female staff with the government must cover their hair during office hours.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh had issued the memo urging female staff to use head ties and wrap their hair. The order sparked resistance from opposition leaders, activists and pro-democracy groups.

The presidency, in a statement Wednesday to state radio, said the directive is lifted.

In early December, Jammeh declared the tiny West African country an Islamic republic, saying he decided this because Islam is the religion of the majority of its citizens. Parliament later passed a bill banning female genital mutilation after Jammeh condemned the practice.

Jammeh seized power in 1994. Rights groups accuse him of gross human rights abuses, including a clampdown on political opponents.