Stop the Deportation of Josephine Komeh – Fighter Against FGM!
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is torture and child abuse.
63-year old Josephine Komeh is a courageous fighter against FGM/Cutting in Sierra Leone who opposed it in the most practical way – by refusing to cut girls and young women herself. She was severely tortured because she had defied the traditional authorities that maintain this brutal practice.
Josephine sought asylum in Britain, where the Government condemns FGM, but the Home Office plans to deport her on 24th July. She will face further torture back in Sierra Leone unless she agrees to cut. There is no-one there to protect her: her husband is dead, a son & daughter live in Britain, and her other children were killed during the 11-year Civil War.
Josephine’s grandmother and mother were traditional ‘cutters’ and trained her as next-in-line. She opposed FGM and felt it clashed with her responsibility for the girls she taught as a head teacher. When her mother died she tried to avoid taking her place, but the women’s society that organises FGM forced her to cut young girls until she refused to continue. That is when she was tortured.
On 29th May Josephine was taken from Leeds where she lived, to Yarl’s Wood detention centre. Her asylum claim was rejected despite a medical report from Freedom From Torture, but she successfully resisted an attempt to deport her on 5th June. Since then she has gathered more evidence, but the Home Office plans to deport her before a fresh claim can be considered. Her deportation is set for Wednesday 24th July at 6.30am from Heathrow on Brussels Airlines flight SN2104.