A UK court has said that it is powerless to stop the deportation of a 10-year-old girl at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) after her mother’s asylum application was rejected by authorities.
The girl and her mother travelled to Britain from Bahrain and have expressed fears with authorities that should they send her back to Bahrain they will force her to return to Sudan where she is originally from.
The girl’s mother said she had undergone FGM, as had her two sisters, who both died as a result.
Sudan is considered to have one of the highest rates of FGM in the world. About 87 per cent of Sudan’s women aged between 15 and 49 have been cut, and the majority have undergone the severest form, infibulation, according to the World Health Organization.
A family court had ruled that the girl could be subjected to FGM is she was deported after social services applied for a protection order to stop her being removed from the country.
However, the Home Office who handle issues related to immigration challenged the court’s power to prevent her deportation and the court accepted it did not have such powers.
The lawyer representing the girl’s mother in court claimed there was a contradiction between the Government’s commitment to end FGM and their immigration policies.
Her lawyer said: “They are happy to prosecute FGM, they are happy to give money abroad to stamp it out, but they are failing to protect women who are at risk if deported.”
Although FGM is a recognised ground for asylum in Britain, the Home Office has previously argued that the risk in similar cases was low.
Anti-FGM campaigner, Alimatu Dimonekene, said authorities were failing to consider the rights of children when processing the asylum applications of their parents.
She said: “This girl will be at risk not only of FGM if she returns to these countries, but will be at risk of other known extreme forms of violence.”