Australian Minister proposes a new asylum policy on FGM

The new Australian Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen declared recently that he is going to push for laws protecting women from genital mutilation and honor killings, still this year.

Mr Bowen said, that he will put efforts in widen the criteria by which people can apply for complementary protection. The proposed laws should prevent people from being deported, if they don’t meet the required conditions of current refugee obligations. This includes people facing torture from criminal gangs and women confronting mutilation.

In his own words: ''We'll be proceeding with that bill (…) I see it as an important measure. Out of the immigration legislation that is outstanding, I see that as the most important.''

In some countries such as France, Canada, the Netherlands, Britain and the United States, the genital mutilation is considered to be an act of persecution and a reason to grant refugee status.

In Germany, FGM is not yet recognized as grounds for asylum, because of Article 16a of the Basic Law, which grants asylum only to those fleeing persecution by a government, but not from religious or social sanctions. According to the information we have, only once Asylum was granted to a woman at risk of FGM.

Written by Isabel Henriques