Pro Bono Client from Burkina Faso Granted Asylum

April 11, 2017

Cleary Gottlieb’s pro bono client Ms. B was granted asylum status in the U.S. on April 11, 2017.

Ms. B underwent female genital mutilation (FGM) at the age of 2 and continues to live with severe medical consequences. She married in Burkina Faso and soon fell victim to years of physical, sexual and psychological abuse at the hands of her husband and his family, which continued after the couple and their son entered the United States in 2011. When Ms. B  gave birth to a daughter in 2013, she decided not to return to Burkina Faso to save her child from FGM. She escaped from her husband together with her two children, retained Cleary as her pro bono counsel and filed for asylum in October 2013.

Over the next four years, Cleary, in conjunction with Sanctuary for Families, met with Ms. B, her family and various experts to corroborate Ms. B’s accounts of her FGM, her husband’s abuse, the resulting physical and psychological trauma, and the harm Ms. B and her daughter would face if returned to Burkina Faso.

On April 11, 2017, an Immigration Judge in New York granted asylum to Ms. B and derivative asylum to her son, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security waived its right to appeal.