Gender and asylum process talk at LSE

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) will host a public talk on Difference and Diversity in the Refugee Experience: Gender and the Asylum Process.

The talk will be delivered by Latefa Guemar, Gender Institute Visiting Fellow, on Wednesday 27th February 2013 from 3.30-4.30pm, in Room STC.S421, St. Clements, LSE.

The event will chaired by Professor Anne Phillips.

This presentation deals with the criticisms from feminist scholars of the 1951 UN Convention which is the key legal document in defining who is a refugee, what their rights are and the legal obligations of states toward refugees.

The position presented here is that the Convention does not specifically mention gender-based persecution as a criterion under which an asylum claimant can be granted refugee status.

While some feminist critics have indeed suggested that gender should be added as a “sixth ground” of persecution mentioned in the convention, others argue that the spirit of the convention is already based on the fundamental principles of equality and non-discrimination, drawing on United Nations human rights instruments. This latter view is based on the premise that adding sex or gender as a “sixth ground” to the existing framework might lead to a risk that “gender” will be seen as separate from and therefore not treated as intrinsic to each of the five existing grounds.

These divergent points of view are examined through a discussion which offers a theoretical and legal update on the interpretation of women’s experiences in the UK asylum determination process, supported with reference to relevant case studies.

It also appraises the consequences of gendered discrimination for women and the ways in which asylum claims made on this basis could best be approached, suggesting that, in order to respond correctly to such claims, policy makers should be aware of the political significance of gender and of women’s sexualities.

The debate is open to all – no booking required.

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