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Archive for September 21st, 2009

Massive Support in Australia for Kenyan girls facing deportation

Posted by Administrator on September 21, 2009

OUTRAGE at Australia’s plan to deport two women possibly facing genital mutilation in Kenya has triggered an alliance between political adversaries, lawyers and refugee groups who want the Immigration Minister to intervene.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon joined the Opposition and the Greens in urging the minister, Chris Evans, to use his intervention powers to grant the women visas.

Grace Gichuhi, 22, and Teresia Ndikaru Muturi, 21, fear deportation from Sydney would force them into female circumcision. The pair were rejected as refugees by the immigration department, an independent tribunal and then the minister despite a bill before parliament aimed at protecting such women.

A groundswell of concerned readers yesterday contacted the The Age, appalled by the situation and eager to help.

”If the laws are changed, these women have a clear case for asylum,” Senator Xenophon said. ”I urge the minister to exercise discretion to give these two women asylum.”

The comments were echoed by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who said the women sounded like ”prime candidates” for the proposed ”complementary protection” laws aimed at building on existing refugee criteria.

Currently, refugees’ fear of persecution has to be based on ”race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion”, allowing people facing genital mutilation for other reasons to be sent home.

While Opposition spokeswoman for immigration Sharman Stone supported a second look at the pair’s cases, she rejected the need for the new laws, saying the existing intervention powers were adequate.

The Coalition will oppose complementary protection in the Senate.

”The minister of the day looks at what are often very complex, one-off situations, and he or she doesn’t have to adhere strictly to any convention. They can then exercise their own sense of what is right and just and humane,” Dr Stone said.

But supporters of the change, including a member of her own party, said Dr Stone had outlined precisely what was wrong with existing laws.

Professor of public law at the University of Sydney, Mary Crock, said the changes gave certainty to women such as Ms Gichuhi and Ms Muturi, whose cases would be ”no brainers” if departmental officials had laws to apply.

Liberal MP Petro Georgiou said current powers before the minister had limitations. He said: ”Ministerial intervention is not subject to a process other than an individual’s position and the system can be improved.”

Immigration officials, who had told the women to prepare for deportation, are reassessing their claims with new information to put before the minister. Senator Evans’ spokesman could not give a timeframe for a decision.

Teresia Muturi, 21 and Grace Gichuhi, 22. Photo by Ben Rushton

Teresia Muturi, 21 and Grace Gichuhi, 22. Photo by Ben Rushton

TWO Kenyan women are facing deportation from Australia despite fears they could be subjected to forced genital mutilation or be killed when they are sent home.

Grace Gichuhi, 22, and Teresia Ndikaru Muturi, 21, arrived in Australia in July last year on tourist visas for World Youth Day.

They have been told to prepare for deportation after their applications to the Immigration Department for protection were refused, as were subsequent appeals to the independent refugee tribunal and Immigration Minister Chris Evans.

Ms Gichuhi (above) says the Mungiki sect that killed her mother for refusing to have her clitoris cut off has threatened her life for the same reason. ”They use a knife. Just a knife, no medicine,” she said yesterday. ”They circumcise you and maybe you die or you survive.”

In forced mutilation, 10 men hold the woman down, while another brandishing a knife cuts off the clitoris in front of as many as 30 onlookers, Ms Gichuhi said.

”Everyone watching,” Ms Gichuhi said. ”It’s happened to my friend. She didn’t want to do it but she did. She told me they hold her and she can’t do anything.”

Ms Muturi said refusing circumcision angered her mother. She said her mother sold her to a 70-year-old man for 10 cows five years ago. Ms Muturi ran away from home.

A critical problem for Ms Gichuhi and Ms Muturi is that proposed laws that could offer them protection have not yet been passed.

Called complementary protection, the changes would expand on existing criteria that require refugees’ fear of persecution to be based on ”race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion”.

These rules have meant that people facing genital mutilation or torture for other reasons can slip through the cracks and be sent home.

A spokesman for the Immigration Department said: ”Their cases were assessed on individual merits and under the refugee convention they weren’t found to engage with Australia’s international obligations.”

After their pleas to Senator Evans to use ministerial intervention powers on their behalf were rejected, a ”repeat request” for the minister to reconsider is before the department now, incorporating more detailed information. ”All requests for ministerial intervention are thoroughly assessed,” his spokesman said.


Sister Aileen Crowe, a Franciscan nun fighting the women’s deportation to Kenya, said the minister should stop all women in similar circumstances from being deported before the proposed legislative changes took effect.

Five other women facing genital mutilation in different parts of Kenya were recently granted protection without the need for appeals, she said. By contrast, Ms Gichuhi and Ms Muturi were told to make travel plans for deportation.

”There are some immigration officials who follow processes to the letter of the law,” she said. ”It all depends on who they get to interview them and what they write up on the advice for the minister.”

The Coalition has indicated it would oppose complementary protection legislation.

Senator Evans has said the bill would help vulnerable people. ”People at risk of the most serious forms of harm if returned to their home country,” he said on September 9.

”Where such claims are accepted as true, Australians would expect a protection visa to be granted.”

Australia currently deals with such cases using ministerial intervention powers that are not reviewable, transparent or subject to procedural fairness, he said.


Posted in Kenya | 7 Comments »

“New Leadership for Kenya” by Hebron Mosomi- Kenya for Change

Posted by Administrator on September 21, 2009

Hebron Mosomi is the founder of the group-Kenyans for Change. This group was founded to revive hope and restore the Kenyan Dream. The group has over 5,000 members worldwide. The video below features Mr. Mosomi’s words on a “New Leadership for Kenya”

To visit the Kenya for change website, go to www.kenyansforchange.com

Posted in Kenya | 1 Comment »

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