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Netherlands: Court judgement looms in Sudan deportation female genital mutilation risk complaint

Tomorrow, judges will reveal their decision on a deportation human rights complaint against the Netherlands, which raises concern about female genital mutilation.

The case R.B.A.B. and Others v. the Netherlands (application no. 7211/06) will be the subject of an European Court of Human Rights judgement on Tuesday 7 June.

The applicants are five Sudanese nationals: a married couple, Ms R.B.A.B. and Mr H.S., their two daughters, X and Y, and their son Z. The children were born in 1991, 1993 and 1996, respectively.

The case concerns the applicants’ complaint that X and Y would be at risk of being exposed to female genital mutilation (“FGM”) if they were expelled to Sudan.

The applicants entered the Netherlands in 2001. Ms R.B.A.B. and Mr H.S. subsequently filed asylum applications on two occasions, in 2001 and 2003, on their own behalf and on behalf of their children, which were each rejected. In 2005 they filed a third asylum request, based on the claim that, if they were sent back to Sudan, their daughters X and Y would be subjected to FGM, due to tribal and social pressure.

That request was also rejected, in particular on the grounds that since the applicants had not substantiated their identities or given a credible statement concerning their previous place of residence in Sudan, it was not established that they did not belong to the group of higher educated people who – according to a report drawn up by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs – were able to resist the practice of female circumcision.

Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, the applicants complain that their expulsion to Sudan would expose X and Y to the risk of being subjected to FGM.

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