FGM order made to protect Kent girl taken to Sudan

'Why female circumcision?' poster Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kent County Council said social workers believed the girl could be forced into FGM in Sudan

A judge has ordered the return of a 13-year-old girl who has been taken to Sudan and is feared to be at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Kent social services took High Court action in a bid to protect the girl, who was taken to Sudan by her mother.

Mr Justice Baker made the FGM protection order in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He was told the mother left the girl with relatives before returning home to England.

The judge said the girl could not be identified. The case is due to be re-examined in the near future.

'Manipulative and violent'

Legislation providing for FGM protection orders came into force in July.

Lawyers indicated the girl's parents had separated and the girl had been left in Sudan without her father's permission.

The woman had described the girl's father as "manipulative" and "violent" and said she was "fleeing".

Female genital mutilation

  • Includes "the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons"
  • Practised in 29 countries in Africa and some countries in Asia and the Middle East
  • An estimated 3 million girls and women worldwide are at risk each year
  • About 125 million victims estimated to be living with the consequences
  • It is commonly carried out on young girls, often between infancy and the age of 15
  • Often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, to prepare a girl or woman for adulthood and marriage and to ensure "pure femininity"
  • Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of newborn deaths in childbirth
  • In December 2012, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution calling for all member states to ban the practice

Source: World Health Organization

Barrister Zimran Samuel, who represented Kent County Council, said social workers had been working with police and the Foreign Office and regarded the matter as urgent.

He said the woman's family considered FGM to be acceptable.

"The local authority's position is that there is a risk to this child that she could be forced to undergo this procedure and that injunctive steps need to be taken as a matter of urgency," Mr Samuel said.

Mr Justice Baker told the girl's mother to arrange for her to be returned home to England.

Diane McBrinn, for the woman, said her client would comply and take steps to get the girl back.

She said the woman denied her daughter was at risk of being subjected to FGM.

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