Kenyan Women Facing Genital Mutilation Need Protection Urgently

The cases of Grace Gichuhi and Teresia Muturi, who have been told by the Department of Immigration to return to Kenya where they fear genital mutilation, are clear examples of the need for complementary protection, according to the Edmund Rice Centre.

“A return to Kenya would put them at immediate risk of genital mutilation or the real prospect of death if they refuse it”, Edmund Rice Centre Director Phil Glendenning said today.

“Whilst the Government is currently preparing to formally introduce complementary protection measures into the Parliament, the situation of these two young women cannot wait until those measures are in place”, Mr Glendenning said.

“Grace and Teresia cannot wait until the new laws are in place. They need protection urgently and they need it today”, Mr Glendenning said.

“Some other young Kenyan women facing genital mutilation have been given protection, without the need for appeals. Grace and Teresia are in the same situation as these women”.

“More information is currently before Immigration Minister concerning Grace and Teresia’s cases, and we respectfully urge him to grant these young women protection”.

“The research work of the Edmund Rice Centre – documented in the Deported To Danger Reports I and II and the film A Well Founded Fear – showed clearly how the previous Government’s policies led to hundreds of people being returned to danger in the countries they had fled from, and how many were killed upon return”, Mr Glendenning said.

“We hold similar fears for Grace and Teresia. If they are returned they face genital mutilation, or death if they refuse it. Compassion for people in the circumstances Grace and Teresia find themselves in is not a form of weakness – it is our greatest civilising strength”.

In conclusion, Mr Glendenning once again urged Minister Evans to use his good offices to grant protection to Grace and Teresia urgently.

In its research over the past 6 years the Edmund Rice Centre has tracked down over 260 asylum seekers rejected by Australia in 22 countries, including Kenya. This research is continuing.

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