IRELAND: Nigerian Family Win Last-Minute Fight to Halt Deportation

The High Court blocked the deportation of Nigerian woman Pamela Izevbekhai and her two daughters yesterday.

Mr Justice John Edwards granted Ms Izevbekhai an injunction on the grounds that her lawyers are seeking to challenge a Department of Justice decision that she did not have grounds to seek a subsidiary protection order to allow her to remain in this country.

The injunction was granted pending the outcome of the proceedings.

She had sought the ruling to prevent the deportation, which was due to take place early next week, of herself and her two daughters, Naomi (7) and Jemima (5), on grounds of fear of female genital mutilation in Nigeria.

Last week, the family lost a lengthy legal battle when the High Court upheld the deportation orders.

Yesterday, Mel Christle, counsel, for Ms Izevbekhai, said that they were seeking leave to judicially review a decision by the Minister for Justice that Ms Izevbekhai did not have grounds to seek a Subsidiary Protection Order.

Mr Christle said his client was seeking to have that decision quashed on the grounds that it was "irrational", "inappropriate" and "an error in law".

In granting leave to appeal, Mr Justice Edwards said that he was satisfied that an arguable case had been made on behalf of Ms Izevbekhai and her children.

He said that reasons were not given by the minister as to why there were "no grounds" that would allow him exercise his discretion in the matter and grant her such an order.

The judge said that a process which greatly affects the lives of applicants "must be transparent". He said the case would return to court again on April 7.

Both Ms Izevbekhai and her daughter had been moved from Sligo to a pre-deportation facility in north Dublin on Wednesday.

During earlier proceedings 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 is deported.

Ms Izevbekhai had said she had left Nigeria in January 2005 because she was in fear for her life and particularly for the lives of her infant daughter.

And she received support last night from human rights organisation, Amnesty International, which claimed the Nigerian state could not protect the children.

In a strongly worded statement, the organisation pointed out that Naomi and Jemima "are at risk of being forcibly subjected to female genital mutilation."


AUTHOR: Ray Managh

URL: Click here

DATE: 30/03/2008

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