The daughter of a diplomat from West Africa has been made a ward of court following concerns that she could be subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM).
In a preliminary hearing at the High Court this week,, Mr Justice Keehan made both the wardship order and an FGM protection order, following a request from the London Borough of Southwark.
Such orders can involve a variety of measures, including confiscation of a child’s passport, travel restrictions, and banning certain relatives from contact with the child.
The mother of the girl, who is less than a year old, told authorities she was worried her daughter was at risk. The council’s legal team told the court that the mother had herself suffered FGM as a child and she had been “very anxious and worried” that her daughter could be taken abroad by relatives to be ritually mutilated as well, with the consent of the father.
But he strongly denied any such intentions, insisting:
“I would emphasise that I have absolutely no intention of taking the child anywhere. I love my daughter.”
The council has now asked the government to consider lifting the father’s diplomatic immunity, which makes him immune to prosecution.
Photo of Butler’s Wharf in Southwark by CGP Grey via Wikipedia