Oxford Rights Workshop: The Fear of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as grounds for seeking asylum
Female Genital Mutilation is child abuse and torture. It is illegal in the UK, but the Home Office is consistently rejecting claims to refugee status made by women and girls who seek asylum because they fear they will be subjected to FGM if forced to return to their home countries.
This workshop will introduce participants to the types of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); the laws against FGM in the UK and international law; the countries from where you may expect to receive asylum seekers; the potential health risk that result from FGM; how the fear of FGM is grounds for claiming asylum, constitutes child abuse, and where the claimant is an adult, FGM amounts to torture, inhumane and degrading treatment.
Topics reviewed will teach participants about the practice of FGM and its potential physical and psychological consequences. Participants will engage with UK case law on FGM; learn to improve interviewing techniques; to provide imp representation to clients by engaging specialized County of Origin Information (COI) expert statements; and to anticipate and counter arguments for rejecting asylum claims based on FGM/C that may be mounted by Home Office Presenting Officers (HOPO).
This workshop is suitable for: legal professionals, researchers, staff of NGOs, Government personnel and practitioners. (Knowledge of immigration law and/or FGM is assumed).
CONVENOR: Oxford Rights Workshops – Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, Advisor. Founder and former Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford.
LIANNE POPE: Detective Sergeant, Protecting Vulnerable People Department, Thames Valley Police works closely with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to promote awareness of FGM in the Thames Value region.
LAUREN BUTLER: For the past eighteen years Lauren Butler has worked in refugee organisations including the Amnesty International Refugee Office in San Francisco and the Centre for Women War Victims in Zagreb, Croatia. Having relocated permanently to the UK she is now a senior immigration caseworker at Rochdale Law Centre, having conduct of asylum applications and appeals and coordinating a programme providing specialised legal services to women and girls seeking protection in the UK. She has acted on behalf of women with FGM/C-related claims from the Gambia, Nigeria, and Senegal.
BARBARA HARRELL-BOND: Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, Emerata Professor, OBE, is a legal anthropologist who conducted research in West Africa from 1967-1982 while employed by the Departments of Anthropology, University of Edinburgh & University of Illinois-Urbana,USA, Afrika Studiecentrum, Leiden, Holland, & the Faculty of Law, University of Warwick. She founded/directed the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford (1982-96); conducted research in Kenya and Uganda (1997-2000), and was Adjunct Professor, American University in Cairo (2000-2008). She is now responsible for the information portal, www.refugeelegalaidinformation.org<http://www.refugeelegalaidinformation.org/> that promotes legal assistance for refugees around the world.
SAJIDA ISMAIL: Sajida Ismail is currently an Associate Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) where she teaches Law & Society, Public Law and the Law of the European Union, each subject encompassing aspects of Human Rights law. Sajida is also a solicitor (non-practicing). Prior to teaching at MMU she worked at South Manchester Law Centre as an immigration lawyer from June 2001 until September 2014 when the Centre closed down due to legal aid cuts. Whilst at the Law Centre she was seconded to a trans-national action research project (the WASP Project) in partnership with MMU on domestic violence and refugee law and co-authored the project report. She has also contributed to a Gender and Forced Migration working group at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg as well as contributing the collection, Gender and Migration: Feminists Interventions , Palmary, I. et al. (eds), 2010, Zed Books. Ms Ismail has also undertaken voluntary work with the Medico-Legal Report Service (MLRS) at Freedom from Torture.
BRENDA KELLY: Dr Brenda Kelly is a consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, sub-specialising in maternal-foetal medicine. She is also the clinical lead for FGM in Oxford, and has research interests in Pre-eclampsia and its link to CV health. She is part of the FGM National Clinical Group, a charity committed to improving services for women with FGM through education and training of health care professionals
For any queries please contact: Heidi El-Megrisi