Refugee status for victims of gender-based violence: a new judgement of the European Court of Justice
Women who face violence because of their gender can seek protection in the EU. This judgement provides additional rights and opportunities for victims of gender-based violence. Recognising gender-based violence as a ground for refugee status is an important step in protecting women's rights and avoiding violence. Read more about the latest judgement of the European Court of Justice
The European Court of Justice has granted women survivors of gender-based violence the right to protection in the EU. The court's decision recognises that women outside the European Union who face danger, including "honour killings", can apply for refugee status. This recognition is an important step in protecting the rights of women who are vulnerable to gender-based violence.
Highlights of the case on gender-based violence against women
The Luxembourg court ruling confirms that women who are victims of "physical or psychological violence, including sexual and domestic violence" because of their gender can seek protection. The ruling also recognised that gender-based violence is considered a form of persecution.
The case arose after a Kurdish woman from Turkey applied for international protection, claiming that she had been forced into a marriage and then became a victim of violence by her husband. The Court of Justice of the European Union determined that the absence of conditions for granting refugee status does not exempt a woman from the right to complementary protection, especially if there is a threat of violence or mortal danger. The judgement indicates recognition of the seriousness of gender-based violence and its importance in the context of human rights.
EU court ruling on gender-based violence against women
The European Court of Justice has ruled that gender-based violence against women is a form of persecution and that refugee status in the EU can be applied to women because they may be persecuted because of their "membership of a particular social group". This is an important step in recognising gender-based violence as a serious violation of women's rights.
This decision is particularly important in light of Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention on Violence against Women. According to the report, at least 327 women were killed in Turkey in 2022. Partner and community violence poses a serious threat to the lives of women seeking asylum in the EU.
The recognition of gender-based violence as a form of persecution opens up the possibility for many women to obtain refugee status in the European Union. The court's decision helps provide hope and support for those facing violence and persecution because of their gender.
Examples of gender-based violence against women
Mission Wings, an organisation focused on protecting the rights of asylum seekers, notes that perpetrators of gender-based violence are often part of the same community as the victims themselves. This situation can arise due to shared ethnic and cultural backgrounds or family ties.
An example is the story of Zohra, a Tunisian mother who was sexually exploited and forced to flee to Turkey. Here, her ex-husband turned out to be an abuser and found her again, continuing to terrorise her and lock her in a flat. It was only after great effort that she was granted humanitarian status, which she was initially denied.
Another horrific story is that of Zainab from Iraq, who, after being granted asylum in Bulgaria, found herself in a situation of domestic violence by her new partner. Mission Wings took her under its wing, providing a safe haven for women who have suffered from violence. These stories highlight the need for a gender-sensitive approach and protection of women in vulnerable situations in the context of migration.
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