Gambia – COI

Click here to see the host countries of refugees originating from Gambia.

Dr Pamela Kea

Reader in Anthropology, School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex


Dr Pamela Kea is an anthropologist with extensive research experience in the Gambia and Senegal and returns to this region regularly. Dr. Kea has extensive experience in writing expert reports for asylum seekers in the areas of FGM, forced marriage, domestic violence, witchcraft accusations, homosexuality, trafficking, land disputes, political violence and mental illness, including psychiatric provision in The Gambia.  She is fluent in French and Danish. 

Benjamin N. Lawrance, Ph.D.

Professor of History at the University of Arizona



Benjamin N. Lawrance is the former Conable Chair in International Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology and is currently a professor of history at the University of Arizona. He has conducted field research in West Africa since 1997 and published extensively about political and social conditions. He has served as an expert witness in the asylum cases for  over 130 West Africans in the US, Europe and Canada which have involved human trafficking, citizenship, statelessness, female genital cutting, gender issues, gender identity, ethnic and religious violence, and witchcraft accusations.

Professor Abdoulay Saine


Abdoulaye Saine is Professor of Global Politics and international political economy and former Chair of the Department of Political Science, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He has published extensively on the military in politics, democracy and democratization in The Gambia and West Africa. Saine works have appeared in peer-reviewed academic journals, as well as numerous book-chapters in edited volumes on human rights, globalization, China-Africa Relations and Women in Africa. He is the author of ‘Culture and Customs of Gambia’, ‘The Paradox of Third-Wave Democratization in Africa: The Gambia under AFPRC-APRC Rule, 1994-2008’, co-author of ‘Not Yet Democracy: West Africa’s Slow Farewell to Authoritarianism’, co-editor of ‘Elections and Democratization in West Africa, 1990-2009’ and co-editor of ‘The Gambia Since Independence, 1965-2012’. His current research interests focus on Globalization, Africa-China Economic Relations, and Islam and the US-led War on Terror.

Professor Saine writes on behalf of individual fleeing countries for fear of human rights violations or persons seeking family reunification on humanitarian grounds, as well as young girls who fear being circumcised if a parent(s) is forcibly removed from a host country. Individuals for whom he has written affidavits, (and  country reports) hail from Gambia, and DRC. He is also a consultant for Freedom House.

Hazel Barrett (FGM/C)


Hazel is a social scientist who has worked at Coventry University since 1992, and in 2006 she became Professor of Development Geography. She is currently Executive Director Centre for Communities and Social Justice at Coventry University. She is an internationally recognised expert on FGM, and her recent research has focussed on the practice of FGM in Africa and amongst the African diaspora in the EU. Her other areas of research are the socioeconomic aspects of development, in particular gender, health and rural development in sub-Saharan Africa. She leads the EU Daphne III funded multi-disciplinary REPLACE research project. She is a specialist on participatory action methods and community-based participatory research and has published a number of refereed papers on this methodology. She has published books and chapters on health and development issues and has over 50 refereed articles to her name.

Prof Adriana Kaplan Marcusán (FGM/C)


Adriana Kaplan is Professor at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She has conducted fieldwork in Spain and West Africa since 1989 on issues concerning reproductive and sexual health, specifically female genital mutilation. Professor Kaplan is leading the “Transnational Observatory on Applied Research and Knowledge Transfer on Female Genital Mutilation” with two research stations, in The Gambia (Wassu Gambia Kafo) and Spain, developing an innovative, sustainable, evidence-based and results oriented methodology, now being replicated in Kenya and Tanzania. She has published books and articles, and has developed an academic curriculum on FGM for health sciences as well as guides for professionals on the prevention and management of FGM/C in the Gambia.  

Dr Isatou Touray (FGM/C)


Dr Isatou Touray holds a PhD in Development Studies, University of Sussex and a Master degree with a specialization on Women and Development from the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague. She has completed training on sexual and reproductive health issues and has published on traditional practises, in particular, on FGM/C, as well as on women’s rights in the Gambia. Dr Touray is Executive Director and Senior Consultant of GAMCOTRAP, a Gambian women’s rights organisation campaigning, among other things, against harmful traditional practices like FGM/C. Both in her current and in former occupations, she has researched FGM/C and advised on its elimination.  

Dr Bettina Shell-Duncan (FGM/C)


Bettina Shell-Duncan has a Ph.D. in Anthropology, and conducts research on maternal and child health in Africa.  She is employed as a Professor of Anthropology and Adjunct Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington, Seattle.  One of her areas of specialization concerns female genital mutilation.  She has been a technical consultant on FGM/C at UNICEF and the World Health Organization, and led the WHO research initiative on behaviour change with respect to FGM.  She has published two books on this topic (Female “Circumcision” in Africa:  Culture, Controversy and Change, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000; Transcultural Bodies: Female Genital Cutting in Global Context, Rutgers University Press, 2007) and written several academic journal articles.  As UNICEF consultant, she prepared a statistical overview entitled, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Statistical Overview and Exploration of the Dynamics of Change. This report was published in 2013, and is available online.  
Dr Shell-Duncan has offered expert statements regarding asylum applications for African women several times previously, including cases where applicants are seeking protection on the grounded fear that they or their daughters will be forced to undergo FGM/C.  She has been studying the practice of FGM/C in the Gambia since 2003; she was the principal investigator for a World Health Organization, three years study on behaviour change in relation to FGM in Senegal and the Gambia. 

Dr Gail Hopkins 


Dr Gail Hopkins is an expert on migration and refugees with a focus on West Africa. Her research focuses on integration, resilience and on social and community cohesion, analysing the impact of displacement on refugee livelihoods, education, health and life potential.  More recently, her research has included returnee migrants.  She has worked as a consultant for UNHCR in The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Europe, and for The Commonwealth Secretariat in London.  

Dr Hopkins’ research includes the impact of refugees on receiving communities and of returnees on their home communities and the effectiveness of interventions.  Her work includes analysis of the impact and effectiveness of humanitarian and development programmes in order to inform policy, building resilient communities, and increasing capacity among local refugee/migrant focused organisations. 

Beginning in 2009, Dr Hopkins has worked with refugees from the Casamance region of Southern Senegal who have fled to The Gambia due to ongoing unrest.  Dr Hopkins has also conducted research on Liberian refugees in Gambia prior to cessation, and Somali women refugees who have settled in London and Toronto.  She has also conducted research on Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Publications include works on Casamance refugees in The Gambia, Somali women refugees, and global refugee policy approaches.  She has also taught at the University of The Gambia.  

Dr Jacqueline Knörr


Jacqueline Knörr, Head of Research at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and Extraordinary Professor at the Martin Luther University in Halle/Saale, Germany. Professor Knörr was brought up in Ghana and Germany and has for many years conducted extensive field research in Sierra Leone and the Upper Guinea Coast of West Africa more generally, as well as in Indonesia. She has worked as a Lecturer, Senior Researcher, University Professor, Scientific Director, and Consultant. She has served as expert witness for 20 years. Her regional expertise covers Insular Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines,  Malaysia) and West Africa (Sierra Leone, Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, Liberia, Nigeria). Her areas of expertise include FGC/M, gender and human rights issues, ethnic and political persecution.