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Attorney General Overturns Decision in Female Genital Mutilation Asylum Case

US Attorney General Michael Mukasey overturned a federal court decision Monday in an asylum case for Alima Traore, a Malian woman. This decision prevents immigration authorities from sending Traore back to her home country, where she fears a forced marriage and genital mutilation.

Mukasey rejected the federal court’s rationale that “because [Traore’s] genitalia had already been mutilated [she had] no basis to fear future persecution,” according to CNN. He also noted that “female genital mutilation is not necessarily a one-time event.” Karen Musalo, Director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at Hastings College of Law told the New York Times, “The decision that the attorney general vacated was a decision that was just so wrongheaded and wrongly decided [it’s] damaging to women who are seeking asylum on the basis of female genital cutting.”

The Feminist Majority Foundation submitted an amicus brief (see PDF) supporting Alima Traore’s asylum petition in conjunction with the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies and the International Women’s Human Rights Law Clinic.

Sources:

CNN 9/22/08; The New York Times 9/22/08; Amicus Brief No. 07-2080

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