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Theses Master's

Recognizing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence as Persecution Grounds for Women Seeking Refugee Status and Asylum

Sahar, Hana

This thesis will explore both the possibility and necessity of establishing the question of whether or not gender-related claims are valid persecution grounds for women seeking refugee status or asylum, particularly in the form of SGBV. Through a human rights-based approach, this thesis will make a case for the recognition of SGBV as a persecution claim for refugees and asylum seeking women through a multi-sectoral approach using different entities and mechanisms to ensure that states are able to adopt legislation on gender-based persecution. In order to demonstrate the importance of recognizing gender as a factor in refugee claims, this thesis will examine the ways in which 3 countries - Canada, Germany, and the United States - have adopted policies towards refugees and asylum seekers making claims based on gender. Ultimately, this thesis will argue for a framework that not only holds individuals and states accountable for gender persecution but that also creates a specialized category of persecution based on gender. In doing so, this thesis will also unpack the legal definition of a refugee and discuss the ways in which the law has been used to support SGBV claims, as well as the implications of how the law is used. The current bodies of international human rights and refugee law will be examined and discussed in detail to show that despite the absence of references to SGBV in significant conventions, there is a growing movement that recognizes SGBV as a human rights violation and as valid persecution grounds for individuals seeking refugee status or asylum.

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More Information

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Ergas, Yasmine
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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