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Stand with Survivors: 6th Ground Resources for Advocates

Advocating for gender as a 6th ground of asylum

Survivors of gender-based persecution continue to suffer to this day because the Refugee Convention failed to name gender as an independent ground of asylum 70 years ago. Like race, religion, and the other grounds, gender should have been included from the beginning. US law is modeled after the Convention so it too, does not explicitly protect survivors. Instead, survivors must rely on highly technical, complex laws and policies that are constantly questioned and re-interpreted. US anti-discrimination laws have, however, named gender as a protected characteristic for decades. And at least 25 other countries have now updated their laws to provide equal, unequivocal access to asylum on account of gender.

It is more urgent than ever that the US follow suit, by naming gender as the 6th ground. In December 2020, the former administration sought to explicitly eliminate gender-based asylum through rulemaking. There is every reason to think a new administration would try to renew this effort. We cannot wait any longer to solidify protections for those fleeing forced marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, domestic violence, and other human rights abuses fueled by misogyny.

The resources below address the need for the 6th ground in detail, including explaining how it will lessen re-traumatization during case preparation; mitigate the need for indigent applicants to retain specialized counsel, and both enhance due process and judicial efficiency by minimizing protracted proceedings and appeals. If you have additional, relevant resources to share, or any questions about this topic, please email irenas@tahirih.org.

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