The EWL, in cooperation with Asylum Aid and ILGA-Europe, on 15 September 2010 wrote to Jean Lambert, Green MEP and Rapporteur on the recast EC Qualification Directive, with recommendations on how to ensure the recast Directive is gender-sensitive.
Dear Ms Lambert,
As you know, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), Asylum Aid and ILGA?Europe are deeply committed to ensure
the right of women asylum?seekers to seek and be granted protection in Europe. Our respective NGOs have been
active at the national and European level to make this right a reality through close monitoring and lobbying on
European and national asylum legislation (and implementation), but also through our capacity?building and
awareness?raising activities such as training, research or toolkits.
That is why we have been following the process of the recast qualification and procedures directives. We warmly
welcome the recast as a whole as a positive step forward in its aim to ensure higher and further harmonized
protection standards and particularly of women asylum?seekers. Some amendments should be nevertheless
removed and many elements could be improved or completed.
The main element that the EWL, Asylum Aid and ILGA?Europe would like to stress is that the recast directive
proposed by the Commission does not encourage Member States to interpret the five grounds for persecution
defining refugees from a gender?sensitive point of view. Too often women can suffer from persecution due to their
gender and gender relationships in their communities or countries; this apart from or linked to religion, political
opinion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or nationality (for instance the massive ethnic rapes that
happened in Rwanda). When examining women’s claims for asylum, each criteria of the Refugee Convention should
be interpreted through a gender prism so as to take in account all situations of persecution.
The EWL, Asylum Aid and ILGA?Europe thus recommend that a gender approach shall be used by Member States to
define a refugee by mentioning in the recitals the importance of an interpretation of the 5 criteria through a gender
perspective as well as the need when assessing applications to take into account the gender aspects of the claim.
This inclusive interpretation in the recitals would assist the decisions of Member States in terms of recognition of persecution linked to gender.
Please find the full text of the letter and table of amendments here.