Perspective

Posted by Piers Cawley on Oct 10, 2006

I stand by what I said in my last post. The fight against that kind of ingrained, unconscious sexism is one that is well worth fighting.

But this morning I read about a woman who is fighting to have her claim of asylum recognized so that she will never have to return to her home country where she will be obliged have her clitoris cut off. What’s really depressing about the story is that she’s had to take her appeal all the way to the House of Lords - apparently the Geneva Convention doesn’t require signatories to grant asylum to people who fear persecution on the grounds of their gender. Only “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.”

More enlightened nations like Canada, Australia and the USA have accepted that granting asylum to someone fleeing the threat of genital mutilation is a Good Thing. Hopefully their lordships will come to the right decision and we can be a little less embarrassed in future.

Update

Good news! Their Lordships have unanimously ruled that the woman should be granted asylum and seem to have set a widely applicable precedent in the process.

The Guardian has the story here.