Home Secretary urged to halt deportation of Suffolk asylum seeker over daughter’s FGM threat
PUBLISHED: 09:16 09 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:14 09 March 2019
The Home Secretary is being urged to review the case of a failed asylum seeker in Suffolk fighting to stay in Britain to protect her nine-year-old daughter from female genital mutilation (FGM).
Barrister Charlotte Proudman said if Sajid Javid is committed to combating FGM he should not deport the woman and expose the child to the risk of becoming an FGM victim.
It has emerged Suffolk County Council has responsibilities for the girl’s welfare, and had begun litigation, and can be named.
It is believed to be the first case of its kind.
Dr Proudman said Mr Javid should reconsider a deportation decision and keep the girl safe.
A judge has ruled that Mr Javid cannot be barred from deporting the woman.
Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, has analysed the case at recent High Court hearings in London.
He heard how the woman had links to Bahrain and Sudan.
She feared that, if she left Britain, she would end up in Sudan where her daughter would be subjected to FGM.
A family court judge concluded that the girl would be at risk but Home Office officials rejected the woman’s asylum application and ordered her removal.
She then failed to persuade immigration tribunals to overturn that decision.
Social services bosses with responsibility for the girl’s welfare began High Court litigation and Sir Andrew was asked whether a judge could bar the Home Secretary from deporting the girl’s mother.
Sir Andrew has concluded that a judge cannot make such an order.
Another judge, Mr Justice Newton, is now scheduled to analyse further issues in the case at future hearings.
Lawyers say Mr Justice Newton, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, will assess issues including the level of risk the girl faces and whether she could be protected abroad.
Mr Justice Newton has described the case as the first of its kind.
He says it raises public interest issues relating to “tensions” between politicians and the courts.
Judge have ruled that the child cannot be identified.
“The Home Secretary cannot on the one hand say he is committing to protecting girls against being subject to FGM yet at the same time deport this woman and put a child at risk of FGM,” said Dr Proudman.
“His position is simply contradictory.
“I would urge him to review this case, regardless of the judge’s ruling, and keep this child safe.”