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Local media has reported that Gambian lawmakers have on Monday voted to uphold a ban on skin bleaching after a heated debate in parliament.

It was gathered that the attorney general presented the bill on the prohibition of skin bleaching for consideration.

He argued that criminalizing people for using cosmetic products was an unfair punishment, the AFP news agency reports. However, lawmakers were in favor of maintaining the ban.

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

Recall that the West African country banned skin bleaching in 1996 during the rule of Yahya Jammeh – who was in power for more than 20 years.