Refugee Status and Gender-Related Persecution

Date: January 20, 2012
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The objective of the thesis is to examine if failure of the country of origin to provide protection against gender-related violence from non-state actors, in circumstances where the motivation of the perpetrators is private, constitutes persecution of the kind referred to in Art 1A(2) of the Convention. Two questions are brought up in this context. First, is internal state protection relevant to the definition of the term “persecution”? This is important in gender-related claims by women who often face serious harm by non-state agents and need to show that they are persecuted even though state authorities are not inflicting the harm. Secondly, does the motive of the perpetrator have to relate to Convention reasons? When women face violence by private citizens, e.g. family members or husbands, the difficult requirement of establishing the motive of the perpetrator while in the state of refuge becomes a barrier to the recognition of refugee status. It is concluded that even though the four jurisprudences considered, the U.K., the U.S., Australia and Canada, follow “the protection view” in rewarding refugee protection, there is too much emphasis in all states except Canada on the persecutor and internal state protection when the term “persecution” is defined. But only in the U.S. is it required that the motivation of the non-state perpetrator is on account of one of the Convention reasons.


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