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Britain claims it protects girls from FGM. So why are we deporting them?

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Today the family division of the high court ruled that it has no power to stop the home secretary from deporting a vulnerable girl at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) to Bahrain or Sudan.

Jasmine (not her real name) is 10 years old. As a barrister, I have seen how the government’s hostile immigration environment extends to refusing asylum claims on the basis of FGM, leaving girls and women liable to deportation to countries where this practice is prevalent, if not the norm. The government claims it is committed to supporting victims of FGM and prosecuting perpetrators. Yet when girls at risk of being cut claim asylum, they are turned away.

FGM is a gross abuse of human rights and is a recognised ground for asylum. But the Home Office often claims that, contrary to the evidence, the risk of FGM in such cases is low. They say the mother can single-handedly protect her daughter from familial or community pressure to undergo FGM; or that, just because the mother has been cut, it does not follow that her daughter will be cut; or the state can protect the girl from FGM even though laws to allow this have never been enforced.

Research into women’s asylum claims in Europe shows that decision-makers apply too high a standard of proof, requiring independent evidence of a kind virtually impossible to obtain, and are insensitive to the impact of shame and trauma caused by FGM on........

© The Guardian