Dept of calling-a-spade-a-shovelling-instrument: this decision shows that Priti Patel wanted to send a girl away to have her genitals cut – because her victim is of Sudanese origin.
Ms Patel refused to grant asylum to the girl – aged just 11 – in the knowledge that she would be returned to an area of Sudan where the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) is 97.7 per cent.
The mother’s claim for asylum was rejected after Home Office officials deemed she lacked credibility. But it later transpired through family court proceedings she was a reliable – albeit highly traumatised – witness.
The girl, who is thriving at school and only speaks English, was brought to the UK in 2012 by her mother, herself a victim of what is known as type 3 FGM whose two sisters died after being cut in their native Sudan.
The single mother, who brought her daughter to Britain to protect her from FGM, exhausted her appeal rights in 2018 and was given notice of the family’s removal to Bahrain where they lived before coming to the UK.
The day before she was due to board a plane, Suffolk county council obtained an FGM protection order, preventing the girl’s departure.
Court documents explain the family were likely to be directed from Bahrain, where their citizenship has expired, back to Sudan. They are from North Kordofan state where the prevalence of FGM is 97.7%. Three of the girl’s cousins are known to have been cut.
After a series of hearings, the Family Court ruled that the girl and her mother should be allowed to remain in the UK.
But Patel launched an appeal claiming that the immigration court’s risk assessment of overseas FGM – “that there was no substantial grounds for believing there was a real risk” – should have been the starting point in the family court.
A Court of Appeal judge found the home secretary “misses the point” because assessing risk is different in the family court where the child’s welfare is central to inquiries – rather than simply being the dependent of an adult making a claim.
The Home Secretary’s – costly – legal challenge was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on June 15.
Charlotte Proudman, a barrister on the mother’s legal team, has accused the Home Office of hypocrisy in digging its heels in over the case and says its unwillingness to protect the girl makes a mockery of FGM protection orders, designed to stop those at risk being taken abroad.
Proudman, who specialises in cases of gender-based violence, said: “It is appalling and shameful the home secretary is wasting taxpayers’ money to score points around policy yet amid the political jostling is prepared to risk the effective torture of this girl.
“With one hand the department is pursuing FGM prosecutions in Britain. With the other it is sending girls abroad to get cut, simply because they are not British.”
“It is sending girls abroad to get cut, simply because they are not British.”
That’s racism. That’s Priti Patel. That’s the Conservative government. And it’s also the British way – which is why the Black Lives Matter movement is so important.
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