ECtHR - R.B.A.B. And Others v. The Netherlands (no. 7211/06), 7 June 2016, Grand Chamber

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

On 7 June 2016, the European Court of Human Rights delivered a judgment in the case of five Sudanese nationals. After having two asylum requests rejected in the Netherlands, the Sudanese family,  consisting of father, mother, two daughters and a son lodged a third asylum request based on the claim that, if they were sent back to Sudan, their daughters would be subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This application was rejected as well, on the grounds that the family failed to establish that they did not belong to the group of higher educated people who, according to a report drawn up by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were able to resist the practice of FGM. In their appeal before the European Court of Human Rights, the applicants relied on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court stated in paragraph 56 that in general there is no real risk of a girl or woman being subjected to FGM at the instigation of persons who are not family members. FGM is thus mainly a parental choice, which in casu is clearly not a choice supported by the parents of the girls. The Court therefore decided that the applicant was at no real risk of being subjected to FGM and subsequently no treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention.


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Female genital mutilation
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Real risk