21 July 2005 Edition

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Deportation policy ignores human rights

Nigerian women protest at the Dáil on Thursday 14 July where they delivered a letter to the Minister of Justice, Michael McDowell demanding an explanation of the government's deportation treaty with Nigeria.

Nigerian women protest at the Dáil on Thursday 14 July where they delivered a letter to the Minister of Justice, Michael McDowell demanding an explanation of the government's deportation treaty with Nigeria.

"The human rights of women simply do not exist in Nigeria," said Jane, one of several Nigerian women who addressed a protest, brought together by Residents Against Racism, outside Leinster House on Thursday 14 July.

She and other speakers, many of them with young children, explained that in Nigeria, husbands have the right to beat their wives, women have no choice of husbands, and there is no crime of rape within marriage. When women marry they move from being the property of the elders of their father's family, to become the property of the elders of their husband's family.

Should the husband die, then the widow must marry someone in the husband's family. Women cannot inherit or own property. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced immolation of the woman's body, is a widespread practice, where there is no right to refuse

Despite all of this the Dublin Government has continued to implement the deportation agreement, first made by the previous Minister of Justice, John O'Donoghue, without any regard to the abuse of human rights in Nigeria.

None of the outlandish practices, including FGM, are recognised as grounds for asylum. The two governments have simply agreed to co-operate together. The Irish state's deportation of women who seek sanctuary here effectively colludes with the Nigerian Government's denial of the most fundamental rights of women.

The Dublin Government does not accept the fears women have of living without rights as just grounds for asylum. This puts McDowell and his government in the position of not respecting such rights. Legislation, promised after the Beijing Global Women's Conference, to ban FGM from the state is still awaited.

She and other speakers, many of them with young children, explained that in Nigeria, husbands have the right to beat their wives, women have no choice of husbands, and there is no crime of rape within marriage. When women marry they move from being the property of the elders of their father's family, to become the property of the elders of their husband's family.

Should the husband die, then the widow must marry someone in the husband's family. Women cannot inherit or own property. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced immolation of the woman's body, is a widespread practice, where there is no right to refuse

Despite all of this the Dublin Government has continued to implement the deportation agreement, first made by the previous Minister of Justice, John O'Donoghue, without any regard to the abuse of human rights in Nigeria.

None of the outlandish practices, including FGM, are recognised as grounds for asylum. The two governments have simply agreed to co-operate together. The Irish state's deportation of women who seek sanctuary here effectively colludes with the Nigerian Government's denial of the most fundamental rights of women.

The Dublin Government does not accept the fears women have of living without rights as just grounds for asylum. This puts McDowell and his government in the position of not respecting such rights. Legislation, promised after the Beijing Global Women's Conference, to ban FGM from the state is still awaited.


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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