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Female Genital Mutilation and Refugee Status in Swedish Asylum Cases - A Critique from a Gender Perspective

Svantesson, Sofia LU (2013) LAGF03 20131
Department of Law
Abstract
There has been an increased awareness during the past decades of how structural gender inequalities have negatively affected women’s ability to claim refugee status as defined in the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. In Sweden, this discussion led to an amendment of the Immigration Act in 2005, where gender-related persecution was added as a ground for refugee status.
This paper seeks to examine the effects of this amendment in relation to one particular form of gender-related persecution – female genital mutilation (FGM). It does so by posing the following research question:
Has the amendment of 2005 given increased gender equality with regards to granting refugee status based on FGM as gender-related... (More)
There has been an increased awareness during the past decades of how structural gender inequalities have negatively affected women’s ability to claim refugee status as defined in the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. In Sweden, this discussion led to an amendment of the Immigration Act in 2005, where gender-related persecution was added as a ground for refugee status.
This paper seeks to examine the effects of this amendment in relation to one particular form of gender-related persecution – female genital mutilation (FGM). It does so by posing the following research question:
Has the amendment of 2005 given increased gender equality with regards to granting refugee status based on FGM as gender-related persecution? Viewed from a critical gender perspective, what gender inequalities can still be seen in the assessment of asylum claims based on the risk of FGM?
The paper outlines the legal status of FGM as gender-related persecution in refugee law and highlights the differences between the refugee definition in the 1951 Convention and that of Swedish national law. Following this, five main points of gender critique toward asylum law are lifted and discussed.
The research question is answered by analyzing three cases of asylum claims that have been based on FGM, and examining the existence of the five identified points of critique in each case. By doing so, the paper seeks to pin-point to what extent problems have been resolved and which remain.
The author finds that the amendment has had the desired effect of rendering it easier for women at risk of FGM to claim refugee status, by eliminating any risk of this form of persecution falling outside the refugee definition. The effect on the structural inequalities has however been shallow. A lack of consideration of women’s particular situation and needs can still be observed, as well as a lack of understanding of how the public/private dichotomy influences women’s ability to claim refugee status. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
De senaste årtiondena har vi sett en ökad förståelse för hur strukturella ojämlikheter mellan könen inom flyktingrätten har lett till att kvinnor systematiskt har missgynnats vid beviljandet av flyktingskap i enlighet med 1951 års Flyktingkonvention. I Sverige ledde det här till en lagändring av Utlänningslagen år 2005, då könsrelaterad förföljelse lades till som en grund för flyktingskap.
Den här uppsatsen ämnar undersöka effekten av lagändringen för kvinnor som riskerar en specifik form av könsrelaterad förföljelse, nämligen kvinnlig könsstympning. Det här görs genom frågeställningen:
Har 2005 års lagändring givit upphov till ökad jämställdhet avseende kvinnors möjligheten att bli beviljade flyktingskap på grund av risk för... (More)
De senaste årtiondena har vi sett en ökad förståelse för hur strukturella ojämlikheter mellan könen inom flyktingrätten har lett till att kvinnor systematiskt har missgynnats vid beviljandet av flyktingskap i enlighet med 1951 års Flyktingkonvention. I Sverige ledde det här till en lagändring av Utlänningslagen år 2005, då könsrelaterad förföljelse lades till som en grund för flyktingskap.
Den här uppsatsen ämnar undersöka effekten av lagändringen för kvinnor som riskerar en specifik form av könsrelaterad förföljelse, nämligen kvinnlig könsstympning. Det här görs genom frågeställningen:
Har 2005 års lagändring givit upphov till ökad jämställdhet avseende kvinnors möjligheten att bli beviljade flyktingskap på grund av risk för könsstympning? Sett ur ett genuskritiskt perspektiv, vilka problem kvarstår i bedömningar av asylansökningar grundade på könsstympning?
I uppsatsen redogörs först för rättsläget gällande könsrelaterad förföljelse och könsstympning inom flyktingrätten. Skillnaderna mellan de svenska flyktingbestämmelserna i Utlänningslagen och dem i 1951 års Flyktingkonvention utreds. I det följande lyfts och diskuteras fem huvudsakliga problem inom flyktingrätten ur ett genusperspektiv.
Frågeställningen besvaras genom en analys av tre rättsfall som alla berör beviljande av flyktingskap på grund av risk för könsstympning. Varje rättsfall undersöks med utgångspunkt i de fem genuskritiska problemen som tagits fram. Genom det här söker uppsatsen svara på i vilken grad problemen har lösts genom lagändringen, samt vilka som kvarstår.
Författaren finner att lagändringen har haft önskad effekt på så sätt att den underlättar för kvinnor som riskerar könsstympning att beviljas flyktingskap, då den eliminerar all risk för att könsförföljelsen ska falla utanför flyktingdefinitionen. Däremot är effekten på de underliggande strukturella problemen endast ytlig. Det kvarstår en oförståelse för kvinnors särskilt utsatta situation och behov, samt en oförståelse för hur dikotomin mellan det privata och offentliga påverkar kvinnors möjligheter till flyktingskap. (Less)
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author
Svantesson, Sofia LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20131
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Public international law, migration law, asylum law, gender-related persecution, female genital mutilation, refugee status, Sweden
language
English
id
3800825
date added to LUP
2013-09-11 14:32:57
date last changed
2013-09-11 14:32:57
@misc{3800825,
  abstract     = {There has been an increased awareness during the past decades of how structural gender inequalities have negatively affected women’s ability to claim refugee status as defined in the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. In Sweden, this discussion led to an amendment of the Immigration Act in 2005, where gender-related persecution was added as a ground for refugee status. 
	This paper seeks to examine the effects of this amendment in relation to one particular form of gender-related persecution – female genital mutilation (FGM). It does so by posing the following research question:
	Has the amendment of 2005 given increased gender equality with regards to granting refugee status based on FGM as gender-related persecution? Viewed from a critical gender perspective, what gender inequalities can still be seen in the assessment of asylum claims based on the risk of FGM?
	The paper outlines the legal status of FGM as gender-related persecution in refugee law and highlights the differences between the refugee definition in the 1951 Convention and that of Swedish national law. Following this, five main points of gender critique toward asylum law are lifted and discussed.
	The research question is answered by analyzing three cases of asylum claims that have been based on FGM, and examining the existence of the five identified points of critique in each case. By doing so, the paper seeks to pin-point to what extent problems have been resolved and which remain.
	The author finds that the amendment has had the desired effect of rendering it easier for women at risk of FGM to claim refugee status, by eliminating any risk of this form of persecution falling outside the refugee definition. The effect on the structural inequalities has however been shallow. A lack of consideration of women’s particular situation and needs can still be observed, as well as a lack of understanding of how the public/private dichotomy influences women’s ability to claim refugee status.},
  author       = {Svantesson, Sofia},
  keyword      = {Public international law,migration law,asylum law,gender-related persecution,female genital mutilation,refugee status,Sweden},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Female Genital Mutilation and Refugee Status in Swedish Asylum Cases - A Critique from a Gender Perspective},
  year         = {2013},
}