“En-gendering the European Asylum Support Office”

Recommendations for the integration of a gender perspective into the work of the European Asylum Support Office

The current discriminatory and incoherent provision of protection across the EU and the lack of expertise on gender/sexual orientation/gender identity-related persecutions are putting individuals at risk.

If the EASO is to ensure that the EU fulfils its obligations to protecting all those at risk whether man, woman, gay, lesbian or transgender, a set of recommendations (attached), produced by a coalition formed by ILGA-Europe, the European Women’s Lobby and Amnesty International’s End Female Genital Mutilation European Campaign, must be translated into practice by the new agency.

The European Asylum Support Office will provide asylum expertise, conduct comparative research, collate country of origin information, gather existing practices, and provide training and guidelines for national asylum authorities.

The coalition calls on the EASO to work against discrimination in asylum procedures and to ensure that gender, sexual orientation and gender identity perspectives are embedded equally in the structure and the work of the EASO.

Current asylum procedures in the EU are generally lacking gender, sexual orientation and gender identity awareness: training on questioning techniques is inadequate, and the knowledge and understanding of persecutions on the basis of gender, sexual orientation and gender identity remains low. For instance, a Christian woman was not granted asylum by the Belgian asylum system because they mistakenly believe Christian girls and women not to be at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Background information:

Gender based violence and persecution is a global problem of pandemic proportions:

  • more death and disability among women aged 15–44 are caused by acts of violence than by cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined (UN)
  • 3 million girls worldwide are subjected to genital mutilation each year (WHO)
  • 76 countries still criminalise same-sex sexual activities between consenting adults
  • 539 trans people were murdered worldwide from January 2008 to the end of 2010 (Transgender Europe)

The EASO was established by the European Union in response to asylum challenges and is part of the implementation of the 2008 European Pact on Immigration and Asylum which called for the completion of a Common European Asylum System by 2012 “to offer a higher degree of protection”.

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