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Asylum: the granting of protection against return to a refugee; can lead to lawful permanent resident status and eventually to citizenship.

Refugee: a person outside his or her own country who is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country because of persecution, or a well founded fear of persecution, on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Persecution: the infliction of serious suffering or harm, caused by government action or inaction, upon people who differ in a way regarded as offensive (race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion) in a manner condemned by civilized governments.

Characteristics of Gender-based asylum claims

  • Harm is most often or only inflicted on women:Female Genital Mutilation, rape, domestic violence, forced abortions
  • Harm is specifically because of being a woman:
    women denied freedoms, rights, etc. that men have
  • Harm is at hands of private individuals, with secondary harm by government inaction.

Additional Information on Gender Based Asylum

Court Decisions in the Matter of Rodi Alvarado
Immigration Judge's ruling granting asylum

BIA decision against asylum and dissenting opinion    (requires adobe acrobat)

Responses to the BIA Decision in the Matter of Rodi Alvarado
Washington Post
Letter from Senate to Janet Reno
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Letter from House to Janet Reno
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Effects of the BIA Decision on Other Refugees
Recent Trends in Gender Based Asylum
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Immigration and Naturalization Service Guidelines
INS Asylum Reform - 5 yrs later
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INS Gender Guidelines
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INS press release re: Proposed Rules for Gender Based Asylum Claims
INS Proposed Rule for Gender Based Asylum Claims
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INS Questions and Answers re: Proposed Rules for Gender-Based Asylum Claims

United Nations Doctrines on Women's Rights
UN Convention on Ending all forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979)
UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993)

Additional Information
American Civil Liberties Union
Amnesty International
Center for Gender and Refugee Studies
Family Violence Prevention Fund
NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund
United Nations - Women Watch
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service


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