Unaccompanied Minor from Côte d'Ivoire Wins Asylum

November 18, 2009

On November 18, Cleary Gottlieb successfully secured asylum for pro bono client Ms. D., after a hearing before an asylum officer on July 29 at the asylum office in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Ms. D. is a seventeen-year-old native of Côte d'Ivoire who was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) when she was six years old. Because the procedure was not completed, the client would have suffered a repeated FGM when a forced marriage was imposed on her at age fifteen. Her asylum claim was therefore based on both past and likelihood of future persecution in the form of repeated FGM, forced marriage and verbal and physical abuse. Ms. D. fled Côte d'Ivoire and came to the United States in early 2008. Because Ms. D. is an unaccompanied minor, Cleary Gottlieb also provided the client with substantial assistance in getting enrolled in high school, obtaining medical care and securing other related benefits while her case was pending.