In response to today’s ruling in the House of Lords to recognise as a refugee a woman who fled female genital mutilation (FGM), Anna Reisenberger, acting Chief Executive for the Refugee Council said:
“This is a welcome judgment that will help ensure that the UK upholds its obligation to protect women refugees.
“The case demonstrates the severe difficulties that refugees fleeing gender-based persecution have faced in obtaining protection in the UK. We are dismayed that this woman’s case had to go all the way to the House of Lords before her refugee status could finally be recognised.
“There is a clear need for those making initial decisions on women’s asylum claims to recognise gender-based persecution, including FGM, as a ground for refugee status. Better understanding of the issues that force women to flee and seek protection elsewhere will mean more decisions are right first time, enabling those who flee persecution to get on with rebuilding their lives.”