Father challenges FGM protection order


A father living abroad wants to come to the UK to challenge an order protecting his three daughters from being subjected to genital "cutting", the High Court has heard.

The girls - aged 12, nine and six - recently received the protection of Family Division judges after they were told there was evidence that the father was making arrangements for them to be cut.

They are among the first females in Britain to be made the subject of female genital mutilation (FGM) protection orders introduced under new legislation in July following rising concern over the practice.

The girls' parents are both Nigerian and are divorced. The girls live in London with their mother.

The mother said in a recent statement to the court that she herself had undergone cutting which had caused her "terrible pain" and affected the rest of her life.

The case returned to court today and Mr Justice Moor, sitting in London, said: "The father is anxious to challenge the order and there will be a court hearing at the end of September."

Natalie Hyams, appearing for the father, told the court that a port alert may have been issued which could prevent him travelling to the UK and putting his case.

The judge said the matter needed investigating.

He said he had no control over the actions of the police or UK Border Agency, but the father was entitled to put his position to the court and it would be very difficult to determine issues raised by the case "without him being here".

It is understood the FGM protection order, which prevents the removal of the girls from the UK, was the second to have been made under the terms of the new legislation governing serious crime and female genital mutilation.

At a previous hearing the court was told the father was "putting pressure" on their mother "in relation to the girls going through the procedure".

Zimran Samuel, the barrister then representing the mother, said ceremonial robes worn by children during the procedure had arrived from Nigeria.

Mr Samuel said: "The father is currently in Nigeria and can arrive or instruct someone else to act.

"It was felt that there is a real risk that the girls may be cut in this jurisdiction or in Nigeria, or may go missing."

He said the girls' mother had been subjected to genital mutilation and had "never recovered from the experience".