France Terre d’Asile and Asylum Aid: Women seeking asylum face inconsistent treatment across Europe

by zoejardiniere

25.01.2013 On Monday 21 January, France Terre d’Asile and Asylum Aid were invited to address the Committee for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) at the European Parliament about the need to ensure the protection of the rights of women and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) people within European asylum systems.

The European Parliament has adopted a comparative report, Gender Related Asylum Applications in Europe, first published in May 2012 by France Terre d’Asile, Asylum Aid, the Spanish Commission for Assistance to Refugees (CEAR), the Italian Refugee Council (CIR) and  the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC).

Debora Singer, Manager of Asylum Aid’s Women’s Project, stated that, “Women seeking asylum in Europe face huge injustices, and inconsistent treatment from one country to the next. The European parliament has promised to improve conditions for asylum seekers across Europe. But it won’t get anywhere in its attempts to harmonise the European asylum system if it ignores the rights of women, who make up one third of all asylum applicants”

The comparative report revealed worrying disparities in practices across Member States, with a low standard of treatment overall. For example, in France, Malta and Romania, female genital mutilation (FGM) is not always recognised as a form of persecution. However, this format also allows for the identification of instances of good practice, which can be used informatively to improve overall standards.

On Wednesday 23 January, the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Network on ‘Women Free from Violence’ invited France Terre d’Asile to a further hearing on women refugees. The key recommendation concerned the need for states to ratify the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, which contains a provision specifically regarding gender-based asylum claims. France Terre d’Asile argues that, once the convention has entered into force, it will represent a powerful tool with-which to ensure the protection of female refugees.

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–         France Terre d’Asile, Press release, Monday 21 January 2013