Canada Grants Asylum To Woman Trying To Protect Her Daughter From FGM

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Women’s Enews account here. The article notes in pertinent part:

A growing number of women are requesting asylum in Western countries to escape gender-based persecution.

As a signatory of the 1951 United Nations’ Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Canada stands out in allowing women who are at risk of female genital mutilation, or FGM, to stay, said Nancy Doray, a Montreal immigration attorney. She helped draft the nation’s refugee guidelines, which the Immigration and Refugee Board issued in 1993 and updated in 1996.

The government does not keep statistics on its reasons for acceptance or rejection. The guidelines include criteria for asylum based on fear of gender-based persecution, including domestic violence, rape with impunity and FGM, which ranges from the removal of the clitoris to sewing the genitalia closed and even the removal of the genitalia. The practice often causes later health problems, including higher maternal and infant mortality rates.

“I think Canada’s been a leader in women’s issues and refugee law even before the guidelines. They made a real effort to understand the issues that affected women and children,” Doray said.

Nonetheless, Toure’s struggle with Canada’s immigration system, while ultimately victorious, highlights the obstacles women seeking asylum can face. Doray said it can be difficult to prove, for instance, that a woman will be at risk of FGM when it is outlawed in her home country because attorneys must show the laws are not enforced.

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