Fornah v Secretary of State for the Home Department: CA 9 Jun 2005

The applicant sought refugee status, saying that if returned home to Sierra Leone, she would as a young woman be liable to be circumcised against her will.
Held: Female sexual mutilation ‘is an evil practice internationally condemned and in clear violation of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (‘ECHR’). As a practice, it is not peculiar to Sierra Leone, but it so widespread there and so bound up in the culture and traditions of that country at all levels that it causes difficulties in claims for asylum by young Sierra Leonean girls who fear it. As a clear violation of their Article 3 right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, it would undoubtedly amount to persecution in the general sense of that word. But, for young girls in Sierra Leone, seeking asylum in another country because they fear it, is it persecution for a Refugee Convention reason, namely because they belong to a ‘particular social group’? To establish her claim the applicant had to establish that she was a member of a particular social group. She had said that this group constituted young uncircumcised females This was not capable of being a ‘particular social group’ in law as required, and the claim failed. The respondent had in any event since granted her leave to enter on humanitarian grounds.


Auld, Chadwick, Arden LJJ


[2005] 1 WLR 3773, [2005] EWCA Civ 680, Times 16-Jun-2005




European Convention on Human Rights 83


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Immigration Appeal Tribunal and Another ex parte Shah HL 25-Mar-1999
Both applicants, Islam and Shah, citizens of Pakistan, but otherwise unconnected with each other, had suffered violence in Pakistan after being falsely accused them of adultery. Both applicants arrived in the UK and were granted leave to enter as . .
CitedHoxha and Another v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 10-Mar-2005
The claimants sought to maintain their claims for asylum. They had fled persecution, but before their claims for asylum were determined conditions in their home country changed so that they could no longer be said to have a well founded fear of . .
CitedApplicant A and Another v Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and Another 1997
(High Court of Australia) A Chinese asylum seeker was not entitled to refugee status on the basis of well-founded fear of persecution by forcible sterilisation by reason of his membership of a ‘particular social group’, namely all fathers of . .
CitedChun Lan Liu v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 17-Mar-2005
The applicant for refugee status said she had a well founded fear of persecution if returned to China, saying that as a pregnant mother of a third child, the foetus had been removed at eight months against her will. She had refused sterilisation, . .
CitedRegina on the Application of Ruslanas Bagdanavicius, Renata Bagdanaviciene v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 11-Nov-2003
Failed Roma asylum applicants challenged an order for their return to Lithuania. There had been family objections to the mixed marriage leaving them at risk of violence from the local mafia, and an order for their return would infringe their article . .
CitedBagdanavicius, Bagdanaviciene v the Secretary of State for Home Department Admn 16-Apr-2003
The applicants sought asylum, saying they had been subjected to repeated ill-treatment by Lithuanian Mafiosi. The claims were rejected as clearly unfounded, denying any right to an appeal.
Held: The court could examine the basis upon which the . .
CitedSecretary of State for the Home Department v Skenderaj CA 26-Apr-2002
The applicant sought asylum, claiming to be a target of an Albanian blood feud. He appealed a finding that his claim was not for a Convention reason, and did not amount to a claim of a well-founded fear of persecution for reason of his membership of . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromSecretary of State for the Home Department v K, Fornah v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 18-Oct-2006
The claimants sought asylum, fearing persecution as members of a social group. The fear of persecution had been found to be well founded, but that persecution was seen not to arise from membership of a particular social group.
Held: The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Immigration, Human Rights

Updated: 30 June 2022; Ref: scu.226155