IRELAND: Mum Faces Deportation Despite Child Mutilation Claim

Pamela Izevbekhai (right), who faces deportation, leaving the High Court with her two children Naomi (7) and Jemima (5).

A lengthy legal battle by a woman to prevent the deportation of herself and two daughters, for fear of female genital mutilation in Nigeria, ended in failure at the High Court yesterday.

The court's decision to uphold deportation orders means Pamela Izevbekhai, who was arrested for deportation in Sligo more than two years ago, after she came out of hiding to see her daughters, faces imminent deportation.

However, she still has a chance to remain here if the Minister for Justice grants her application for "subsidiary protection".

Ms Izevbekhai and her daughters, Naomi (7) and Jemima (5), were in court yesterday when Mr Justice Kevin Feeney refused to grant the certificate necessary for her to bring an appeal.

Last January, the judge dismissed Ms Izevbekhai's challenge to the deportation orders.

Ms Izevbekhai had said she had already lost a baby daughter as a result of the "torture" of female genital mutilation in Nigeria and feared for the lives of her other two daughters if the family were deported.

In the High Court in November 2006, Mr Justice Liam McKechnie had granted Ms Izevbekhai leave to challenge the deportation orders.

Ms Izevbekhai had said she had left Nigeria in January 2005 because she was in mortal fear for her life and particularly for the lives of her infant daughter. Her husband's family actively practised the ritual circumcision of female children, she said.

Mr Justice Feeney dismissed arguments that the Minister had breached provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Irish Constitution in relation to how he had scrutinised the applicants' cases.

However, the judge refused an application by the minister to award costs of the various legal applications against Ms Izevbekhai and instead directed each side to pay their own costs.


AUTHOR: Tim Healy

URL: Click here

DATE: 17/03/2008

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