Nigerian mother to fight deportation in Europe

PAMELA IZEVBEKHAI will take her bid to stay in Ireland to the European Court of Human Rights after the Supreme Court yesterday dismissed her attempt to appeal her deportation.

Friends of the Nigerian mother of three said she was very upset by the ruling, while Amnesty International and the Residents Against Racism group criticised what they said were flaws in the asylum system.

Ms Izevbekhai, who has two children living with her in Ireland, nine-year-old Naomi and seven-year-old Jemima, now faces deportation back to Nigeria unless her case before the European Court of Human Rights is successful.

She has consistently claimed that her daughters could be subjected to female genital mutilation if they are returned to Nigeria, but doubts were cast on the credibility of her story after no records were found to back up her story regarding a previous child who Ms Izevbekhai claimed had died as a result of FGM.

Her solicitor, Matthew Ezeani, said the appeal would now go before the courts in Strasbourg.

“We are still reviewing the decision,” he told RTÉ. He said there was still a case pending in the European Court of Human Rights.

He said an appeal to Strasbourg could now be heard and any deportation order regarding Pamela and her family cannot be acted upon until the European appeal is finalised.

“It may well be that ‘the Euro court’ in Strasbourg may find that she has a case and that would mean that the case would be referred back to the Department and Minister for Justice for reconsideration,” he said.

Residents Against Racism said it was hopeful that a stay on Ms Izevbekhai’s deportation would remain in place as her case to European Court of Human Rights continues.

Amnesty International programme director Noeleen Hartigan said: “This case illustrates the flaws in Ireland’s asylum determination machinery.

“Amnesty International intervened in this case on fair process grounds. We were and remain concerned that the decisions of Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and Refugee Appeals Tribunal in rejecting this family’s claim for protection were based solely on the State’s assertion that the children could be offered protection and re-location by the authorities in Nigeria. At no point in the case since then was a fresh or comprehensive review of the facts of the case undertaken towards determining the risk of persecution.

“To say that Nigeria can protect children from female genital mutilation is patently inaccurate, and contradicted by Nigeria’s own statements to the UN. Yet this remains the basis upon which the State wishes to deport these children.

“Due process requires that applicants for asylum and for protection from refoulement under the Refugee Convention and the Convention against Torture have full opportunity to present and defend claims on their merits. This has not happened in this case.”


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