Wednesday, July 27, 2016

When helping victims requires us to be tactful about horrible things ...

It has been a year of shocking stories, but if half of what has been written in the press about Amina Al-Jeffrey is true, hers is one of the most upsetting

According to the Telegraph Amina Al-Jeffrey, now 21, was born in Swansea but taken to Saudi Arabia aged 16 by her father who is a member of the academic staff at the Abdulaziz University in Jeddah and is reportedly receiving funding from the Saudi Arabian government to contest the court order being sought to allow her to return to Britain.

The family division of the High Court was told yesterday that over the course of more than four years, the young woman has reportedly been physically abused, deprived of food and water, and kept in a cage when her father leaves their home.

A British lawyer, Anne-Marie Hutchinson, who has met Amina said that

“She is a normal Welsh girl and still has her Welsh accent,” she said. ”She wants to return home so she can have control of her own life and make her own choices."

Mr Justice Holman said that the jurisdiction of the British courts was unclear because Miss Al-Jeffery was now an adult with dual Saudi and UK citizenship. He went on to make remarks about the need to be careful about asserting the supremacy of our cultural standards which have caused offence to some people who took those remarks as inferring that the treatment of Amina Al-Jeffrey is acceptable according to other cultural standards.

We are no longer living in a world where we can send a gunboat, or a force of dreadnaughts, and force other countries to do what we consider right. Hence a degree of diplomacy is required if we want to rescue this unfortunate young woman from what appears to be a nightmare situation.

I very much hope however that tact and diplomacy is all it was and that everything possible is being done to allow her to return to Wales.

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