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Finally, the BIA discredited the documentary evidence submitted by Abankwah since the studies did not list Abankwah’s tribe as among those that still practice FGM in Ghana. That Abankwah also testified that she feared that her tribe might kill her as a punishment for engaging in premarital sex does not weaken her claim for asylum. Even if the woman successfully holds the water, however, after her enthronement, the village elders select a husband for her who will inevitably discover whether she is a virgin or not. Having established that Abankwah is credible, we accept as fact her assertion that Nkumssa custom includes FGM as a punishment for premarital sex. Under Section b 1 of the Act, 8 U. Moreover, the IJ found that Abankwah failed to demonstrate that she feared any harm that would be imposed on account of a statutorily protected ground, and described Abankwah’s situation as a “personal problem” rather than a “matter of general practice imposed upon a particular social group.

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See Kasinga, WL The BIA discounted the testimony and affidavit of Otumfuor because she admitted that she did not know a great deal about the Nkumssa tribe and cauziya not state absolutely that the Nkumssa practices FGM as a punishment for lack of virginity.

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Thereafter, Abankwah disavowed Kwasi Nkumssa and decided not to adhere to the tribe’s proscriptions. See Zhang, 55 F. On October 1,Victoria Otumfuor testified in support of Abankwah’s asylum application.

FGM is the collective name given to a series of surgical operations, involving the removal of some or all of the external genitalia, performed on girls and women fauzia in Africa and Asia. Abankwah next stated that in her village, “if they find you a man and you marry that man, that means you are a good person; they wouldn’t [circumcise] you. Having established that Abankwah is credible, we accept as fact her assertion that Nkumssa custom includes FGM as a punishment for premarital sex.


The BIA was too exacting both in the quantity and quality of evidence that it required. Abankwah has been imprisoned for the duration of these proceedings at the Wackenhut Detention Facility where she remains to this day.

The Board of Immigration Appeals “BIA” concluded that Abankwah failed to demonstrate an objectively reasonable fear that her tribe will subject her to 3dd, and, consequently, to establish her eligibility for asylum.

We speak fauzkya languages and 33d dialects, and every village has a little practice. Indeed, in order to prevent promiscuity, the loss of normal sexual response is often the purpose of FGM. Fauziyx is, however, no such requirement. During the September 9 and October 1, hearings, the Immigration Judge received into evidence Abankwah’s asylum application and her affidavit in support of it, the declaration of Kwabena Danso Otumfuor, and the affidavit of Victoria Otumfuor.

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However, the IJ concluded that Abankwah had failed to establish that her fear of FGM as punishment for her lack of virginity was objectively reasonable. The applicant must prove both that the fear is “well founded” and that persecution in her native country would be based on one of these five grounds.

The former may be based on the applicant’s reaction to events that impinge on him personally; but to make it a well founded fear, there must be other proof or objective facts that lend support to the applicant’s subjective fear. The record as it stands establishes that Abankwah genuinely fears persecution if she returns to Ghana.

Fatimah Fouziya

For the reasons stated above, the decision of the BIA that Abankwah is not eligible for asylum is reversed and remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion. Under Section b 1 of the Act, 8 U. Because the standard for granting the withholding of deportation is more stringent than the standard for granting asylum and because the BIA denied the request for the former as an a fortiori conclusion, we also remand the request for the withholding of deportation for further proceedings.


Abankwah said that she did not know that the government had outlawed FGM since “people are still practicing it. United States Dep’t of Justice, F.

She opined that FGM “is something laid down for girls. Once a subjective fear is established, an applicant need only show that such fear is “grounded in reality” to meet the objective element of the test.

Cardoza Fonseca, U.

As a girl, Abankwah believed in Kwasi Nkumssa and accepted all the associated tribal rituals and traditions. As an initial matter, Fayziya regulations do not require that credible testimony — that which is consistent and specific — be corroborated by objective evidence.

By contrast, the grant of withholding of deportation under Section h 1 of the Act is mandatory if an applicant establishes that there is a clear probability that her “life or freedom would be threatened in [a] country on account of” a protected ground.

In either case, if the dauziya is believed not to be a virgin, she will be forced to undergo FGM. Decided July 9, Petition for review of order of deportation and denial of application for asylum by Immigration and Naturalization Service. As to Abankwah’s fear that she would be forced to undergo FGM as a punishment for her lack of virginity, the BIA’s opinion acknowledged that the IJ found Abankwah to be credible, and left that finding undisturbed.

According to tribal legend, if the woman has disobeyed tribal taboos including the one against engaging in premarital sex she will be unable to hold the water in her hands, and it will spill onto the ground.

The testimony and affidavit of Victoria Otumfuor further corroborate Abankwah’s claim.