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The UK Home Office (Says It) Has No Data On FGM Asylum Claims

May 19, 2014

13.08.09 in flight 013aThere is little for Britain to be proud of about UK responses to female genital mutilation as grounds for asylum.  The Home Office clearly sees itself as above scrutiny.  In April 2014 I wrote this for the Guardian: How can Britain deport a child at risk of FGM? Theresa May must think again, reporting Afusat Saliu’s terror that her little girls will be mutilated if deported to Nigeria.  Subsequent events (e.g. 200+ girls kidnapped by Boko Harem in Nigeria) and UK parliamentary enquiries (below) give even greater cause for concern.

Here is the response to a question (by Greg Mulholland MP, 18 June 2014) to the Home Office on ‘how many female genital mutilation cases the Department has been made aware of in each year since 2012; and in how many such cases those involved were either deported or threatened with deportation?’:

James Brokenshire (Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration); Conservative) Information on the basis of claim for asylum is not centrally recorded, and the information requested in the hon. Member’s question could be obtained only through a manual search of individual case files. This would exceed the cost limit.
As we do not centrally record the information requested, we are unable to obtain the data for the number of people, whose claim involved female genital mutilation, that were deported or threatened with deportation

Sadly this blase response resonates with concerns I expressed to the UN Rapporteur in April 2014 when she came to the UK on a mission to examine violence against girls and women.
International conventions may say FGM risk is a valid reason for granting asylum, and Nigeria is a country where around a third of women are mutilated, sometimes after kidnapping. But the UK Home Office knows better when it comes to real life.
It has however no plans to tell us why.
I am surely not the only person who finds this very, very worrying.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

PS The UK Government may claim to know nothing, but fortunately the European Union is rather more on the ball.

Page 33 of this publication


A Statistical Overview (UNHCR, February 2013)

gives a plausible estimate of the numbers of relevant asylum applications in the UK.

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Readers are invited to support these two FGM e-petitions:
UK Government: Enforce the UK law which forbids FGM (Female Genital so-called ‘Cutting’)    .. and
FGM abolitionists internationally: Support the Feminist Statement on Female Genital Mutilation
[See also HM Government e-petition, No. 35313, to STOP Female Genital Mutilation (FGM / ‘cutting’) in Britain  (for UK citizens and residents – now closed).]
There is a free FGM hotline for anyone in the UK: 0800 028 3550, or
The #NoFGM Daily News carries reports of all items shared on Twitter that day about FGM – brings many organisations and developments into focus.
Also available to follow is daily news from NoFGM_USA.
For more on FGM please see here. Twitter accounts: @NoFGM1  @NoFGMBookUK  @FGMStatement  @NoFGM_USA   [tag for all: #NoFGM]
Facebook page: #NoFGM – a crime against humanity
More info on FGM in the UK here.
Email contact: NoFGM email
** Hilary Burrage is currently writing a book, Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 3, 2014 15:27

    You’re most definitely not the only person that finds it worrying. Jean and I will be getting our heads together on this and will mail you some ideas in next fortnight or so x

  2. Toby permalink
    July 4, 2014 09:10

    Reblogged this on Speaker's Corner.

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