Istanbul Convention: Gender-based asylum claims and non-refoulement

In their countries of origin, during their journey, in transit and destination countries, many refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls have been exposed to gender-based violence in the form of rape and other forms of sexual abuse and exploitation, harassment or domestic violence. Their protection from violence is not always considered a priority by receiving states. The gender dimension and protection needs of high numbers of refugees and asylum seekers have been largely overlooked and have left gaps in protection, thereby increasing risks for many women.

As a tool to prevent and combat all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (hereinafter the Istanbul Convention) contains provisions specific to asylum-seeking and refugee women. The purpose of this publication is to support the implementation of Articles 60 (Gender-based asylum claims) and 61 (Non-refoulement) of the Istanbul Convention. This publication belongs to a series of in-depth analyses of articles of the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

Download Publication: Gender-based asylum claims and non-refoulement: Articles 60 & 61 of the Istanbul Convention.

The series includes analyses of Articles 11 (ensuring data collection and research on violence against women and domestic violence), 12 (preventing violence against women), 13 (raising awareness of violence against women), 16 (domestic and sexual violence perpetrator programmes) and 17 (encouraging the participation of the private sector and the media in the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence), and a collection of papers on Article 52 aimed at facilitating the implementation of articles of the Istanbul Convention.

Articles 60 and 61 of the Istanbul Convention concern gender-based asylum claims and non-refoulement, respectively. The purpose of this publication is to support the implementation of these articles by providing policy makers, border and immigration officials and practitioners with practical advice including definitions, information and examples of: gender-based violence that may be recognised as forms of persecution or other serious harm, how to ensure that a gender-sensitive interpretation is given to each of the convention grounds, what are the requirements of gender-sensitive reception procedures and gender-sensitive practice and procedure in respect of refugee status determination, and applications for other forms of international protection. It discusses the additional protection of the non-refoulement principle and concludes with a checklist which summarises the requirements of the provisions affecting asylum-seeking and refugee women in Articles 60 and 61 of the Istanbul Convention.

The checklist should help in designing and implementing measures in law, policy and practice to implement Articles 60 and 61.

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