Applicant (Somalia) v OFPRA (Office Français de Protection des Réfugiés et Apatrides)
FR: CNDA ruled that Somali children and adolescents not subjected to FGM constitute a particular social group
The case concerns a two year old Somali girl, represented by her parents. They claimed that if returned to Somalia, the maternal family would expose the applicant to the practice of FGM, as her mother had been also subjected. Her application for international protection was rejected by the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) on 13 September 2020. They appealed this decision on 28 November 2019 before the French National Court of Asylum (CNDA) and claimed that only the applicant's father had been briefly heard before the OFPRA and not the mother, even though she could testify that the practice was undertaken in her family and considering also that the risks of being exposed to FGM were coming from her maternal family.
On 1 September 2020, the CNDA allowed the appeal because of the serious risk of the child being exposed to FGM if returned to her country of origin.
The CNDA ruled that the OFPRA had not put the applicant "in a position to benefit from the essential guarantee constituted by her hearing, through her legal representatives". The CNDA further highlighted that FGM is almost universally practiced throughout Somalia without a significant decline in the practice being noted and in these conditions, FGM objectively represents a social norm, and children and adolescents not subjected to FGM therefore constitute a particular social group.
The court took into account the fact that the applicant's mother had been subjected to FGM, which was certified by a medical certificate, and the risks that the applicant would be exposed to in Somalia due to her maternal and paternal families, both of which supported the practice of FGM. The CNDA also added that the parents of the applicant would be concretely unable to oppose the FGM of their daughter.
Assessment of Application; Effective remedy; FGM/C; First Instance determination; Gender based persecution; Medical condition; Membership of a particular social group; Minor; Personal Interview/ Oral hearing; Refugee Protection; Torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment ; Vulnerable Group;
France, National Court of Asylum [Cour Nationale du Droit d'Asile (CNDA)], Applicant (Somalia) v OFPRA (Office Français de Protection des Réfugiés et Apatrides), no. 18053674 C+, 01 September 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.