CCR CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF CANADIAN GENDER GUIDELINES
4 March 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
With the tenth anniversary of Canada’s guidelines to protect refugee women fleeing gender persecution, the Canadian Council for Refugees is celebrating lives saved - and calling on the Immigration and Refugee Board to renew its commitment to gender-sensitive refugee determination.
The Guidelines on Women Refugee Claimants fearing Gender-Related Persecution were issued by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) in March 1993 and have had a profound influence on women’s rights and international law.
“The gender guidelines marked a turning point both in Canada and internationally,” said Kemi Jacobs, president of the Canadian Council for Refugees. “Before the guidelines, there was a lot of debate about whether women persecuted because of their gender could or should be accepted as refugees. By showing how to take women’s realities into account, the guidelines helped to make sensitivity to gender-based claims a normal part of refugee determination.”
In 1992, a Saudi woman known as “Nada” faced deportation back to her home country after the Immigration and Refugee Board rejected her claim that as a woman she was denied basic rights and faced persecution when she tried to exercise those rights. The Board in its decision minimized her rights as a woman. Following media coverage of her case, “Nada” was granted special permission to remain in Canada. In March 1993, the Chairperson of the Board, Nurjehan Mawani, issued guidelines to ensure that in the future decision-makers gave equal consideration to the rights and realities of women and girls claiming refugee status.
Canada’s guidelines made our country a world leader.
“Canada was the country that really led the way in terms of the international community granting protection to women fleeing gender persecution,” said Wendy Young, Director of Government Relations, Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children.
Other countries have followed the Canadian example, although implementation remains incomplete, and in the United States there are now indications that the government is about to take a dramatic step back.
Ten years after the gender guidelines, the Canadian Council for Refugees calls on the IRB to renew its commitment to ensuring gender-sensitive refugee determination. Ten years later, it is also time for the Immigration and Refugee Board to issue new ground-breaking guidelines, for example in the area of survivors of torture.
For more information, please contact:
Kemi Jacobs, President (416) 588-6288 (ext. 202)
Janet Dench, Executive Director (514) 277-7223
Wendy Young, Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children (703) 560-2621
Some stories of women accepted under the Immigration and Refugee Board Gender Guidelines, March 2003
Comments on the occasion
of the tenth anniversary of the Immigration and Refugee Board Gender Guidelines,