Skip to content

Protect ‘Jasmine’ From FGM: The Home Secretary’s Position Is Hypocritical

July 7, 2020

‘Jasmine’ is 11 years old and has lived with her mother in the U.K. for some 8 years, all her conscious life.  They have only Bahraini citizenship, but are of Sudanese origin.  The Home Secretary wants to refuse them asylum although the Family Court has ruled very clearly that Jasmine is in serious danger of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and thus deportation should not happen.
The UK has a zero tolerance policy on FGM. It is hypocritical to want to send a child to a place where that will likely be her fate, and still to hold no proper data on the incidence of these sorts of cases.

Many of us are supporting a petition to protect Jasmine which has been instigated by Dr Charlotte Proudman, a human rights barrister.  You may wish to add your name too:

Protect Jasmine from FGM and allow her to stay in the UK

.

Background
In one way this ‘case’ – concerning the actual health and perhaps even life of a child – is very encouraging:

Jasmine told her teacher of her concerns regarding possible deportation and the school contacted Suffolk County Council, who then secured an FGM Protection Order from the Family Courts.

Experts including a psychiatrist, an anthropologist, an independent social worker and the child’s own social worker and a children’s guardian representing Jasmine all agreed that Jasmine would suffer gravely if she were removed from the U.K.

The judgement of Mr Justice Newton, after this latest court case for Jasmine, over almost a year, was unequivocal:

It is difficult to think of a clearer or more serious case where the risk to [Jasmine] of FGM is so high.  I find without hesitation overwhelmingly that there is a high risk of FGM…

This is all as it should be; the system is working.

But Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, seems unwilling to respect such a clear judgement, even though the mother has herself has had Type 3 (the most invasive form of) FGM, and still suffers both physical and psychological ill-health as a result.

The UK position in law
FGM has been illegal in Britain for decades now, and over the past few years that original position has been backed up by other legislation removing ‘loopholes’ in the legislative framework. There is clear official guidance about how to deal with child asylum seekers (see here, especially p.53 onwards).

The U.K. also committed in 2013 to an international programme of FGM eradication, promising some £35 million to this cause, including money to support British-based diaspora communities aiming to end FGM in their countries of origin..

It is therefore grossly hypocritical of a member of the Cabinet, a Secretary of State, to fail to recognise that Jasmine’s case for protection against FGM – after seven Court hearings since 2012, i.e. all the time that Jasmine can remember, as still a small child – is abundantly clear.

Jasmine should not be put at risk.  Hence our appeal for support to save Jasmine from FGM.  

The hypocrisies
Nonetheless, the British position on FGM remains problematic. For years the vulnerability and risks of FGM for non-British children growing up in the UK have been brushed aside.

The Family Court which finally heard Jasmine’s case includes a guardian representative for the child, as in some cases in other countries, such as France.  The UK Immigration Courts, which previously considered this case, do not have a separate representative for any children – a massive omission, given that the most vulnerable asylum seekers of all are often minors.

The  overall ‘hostile environment’ positioning of the Home Office causes many migrant mothers and children great hardship – and what makes this cruelty even more unnecessary and worse is that the Home Office loses some three quarters of those cases where the asylum seeker goes to final appeal. This is public money and years of vulnerable real people’s lives wasted.

The stand taken by the Home Secretary on Jasmine’s FGM case might likewise be seen to reflect a view that some lives in Britain, often perhaps those BAME applicants, are of less value than others.  It seems we can ‘reach out’ to ‘save’ children elsewhere, but we still fail to see the risk to people who live here.  Even very recently there are fears that the UK is about to reduce the domestic budget for eradicating FGM by 84%.

Further, as Dr John Chisholm of the BMA Ethics Committee says, there are still no reliable statistics on numbers of asylum applications on the grounds of FGM going through British courts.  This has, as I pointed out in 2014,  been a matter of concern for several years now, but still we don’t have that information.  Maybe we need to start asking for it very seriously?

.

And in the meantime: please support and share the petition to keep Jasmine safe:

Protect Jasmine from FGM and allow her to stay in the UK

Thank you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Your Comments on this topic are welcome.  
Please post them in the box which follows these announcements…..

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Books by Hilary Burrage on female genital mutilation

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6684-2740

18.04.12 FGM books together IMG_3336 (3).JPG

Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Hilary Burrage, Ashgate / Routledge 2015).
Full contents and reviews   HERE.

FEMALE MUTILATION: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation  (Hilary Burrage, New Holland Publishers 2016).
Full contents and reviews   HERE.

FGM: INFORMATION AND ACTION

There is a free FGM hotline for anyone in the UK: 0800 028 3550, or email: fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk

Details of NHS Specialist Services for FGM here.

More info and posts on FGM here.

Activists, service providers and researchers may like to join the LinkedIn group Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): Information, reports and research, which has several hundred members from around the world.

The (free) #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 at no cost or obligation is the #NoFGM_USA Daily News.

Twitter accounts:          @NoFGM_UK  @NoFGMBookUK @FemaleMutlnBook  @FGMStatement  @NoFGM_USA @NoFGM_Kenya  @NoFGM_France  @GuardianEndFGM [tag for all: #NoFGM / #EndFGM] and @StopMGM.

Facebook page: #NoFGM – a crime against humanity

 

 

 

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: