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The Kenyan Woman Threatened by Circumcision Is not Going to be Extradited

21 July 2014 / 15:07:25  GRReporter
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The Administrative Court of Appeals of Athens decided to temporarily suspend the extradition proceedings of a Kenyan woman and her three children. The grounds for the decision were that the woman had been threatened to have to undergo the so-called “female genital mutilation” or genital circumcision while her children may be subjected to torture.

This is the first decision of the Greek legal system related directly to protecting a woman from this cruel practice. The court’s decision was issued on the grounds of the woman’s claim to be granted international protection under the 1951 Geneva Convention.

The Kenyan woman arrived in Greece on 3rd September 2002. According to her, she had been forced to leave Kenya because she has needed funding for one of her children’s leg surgery.

Upon her arrival in Greece, she filed a claim for international protection under the Geneva Convention to be granted to her and her children aged 13, 5 and 3. In addition, the youngest child is a legitimate child of a US citizen.

The woman stated in her claim that she did not wish to go back to Kenya as she belonged to the Kikuyu clan in which traditionally all women undergo genital circumcision. She is faced with the same danger on behalf of the Mungiki organisation operating in different regions of the African country.

The Regional Asylum Granting Office of Attica District rejected the Kenyan woman’s request stating that she and her children did not meet the requirements for receiving refugee status and international protection under the Geneva Convention.

The woman’s next step was to file a request to the competent Commission in the Ministry of Public Order pleading that the claim be reviewed. The respective department rejected any possibility for Greece to grant her international protection stating that she had not filed “compelling evidence that her fear of being subjected to the female circumcision practice by the Mungiki organisation could be regarded as reasonable and based on objective data in order to assume the presence of immediate and imminent danger to her life and physical integrity in the case that she returned to her home country.”

According to the members of the same Commission, the woman faces “no risk of serious injury such as the death penalty or torture because Kenya and particularly the capital city of Nairobi, where she lived before leaving the country, are not part of an international or local military conflict that may lead to her suffering serious damage due to indiscriminate violence used”.

The Commission's conclusion stated that the Kenyan woman and her children do not meet the requirements for receiving a residence permit on humanitarian grounds and they cannot be defined as refugees or beneficiaries of subsidiary protection in accordance with current legislation. The Commission declared, however, that the woman and her children meet the requirements for receiving a residence permit on humanitarian grounds and transferred the matter to another competent authority.

The Kenyan woman then filed a claim to the court stating that in the case that she and her children were extradited to Kenya, they would suffer “irreversible damage”: she would be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, the oldest child would be forced to become a member of a criminal organization, the second child would be likely to be kidnapped by a criminal organisation, while the youngest of the three might be subject to persecution as a legitimate child of a U.S. citizen.

The Administrative Court of Appeals of Athens accepted the woman’s claim provisionally and stated that her extradition to Kenya could cause irreversible damage such as “endangering her physical integrity”.

As a result, the court suspended temporarily the decision of the Ministry of Public Order Commission for their extradition until the final court decision for this case is issued. Meanwhile, the court authorities have urged state institutions to refrain from any action that may lead to the “forced departure” of the Kenyan woman and her children from Greece to their home country.

In addition, the court ordered that their “special documents of asylum seekers” should be returned to them if they had been taken away, and that the documents’ expiry date should be extended.

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