Whether U.S. asylum law recognizes domestic violence and gender-related persecution as being grounds for asylum as defined in the Geneva Convention [USA35769.E]

In 1995 the United States Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) issued guidelines "for Asylum Officers Adjudicating Asylum Claims from Women". A copy of these is attached to USA20954.E of 7 June 1995.

For the INS "Refugee Definition" and additional information on asylum and immigration laws, regulations and guides of the United States, please refer to the U.S. Department of Justice Website pages indicated in the References list below. This includes the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The section titled "Public Laws Amending the INA" indicates that "the Immigration and Nationality Act has been amended many times", and the section titled INS Federal Register Publications contains a large number of regulations and recommendations for a variety of specific circumstances, including country of origin, in a given year.

After the issuing of these guidelines and their implementation, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published commentaries on their legal implications and their application in its 1995 The Human Rights Watch Global Report on Women's Human Rights (Ch. 1: "Rape as a Weapon of War and a Tool of Political Repression"), and in its 1996 Human Rights Watch World Report (Women's Project annex), both available through REFWORLD and Regional Documentation Centres.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC. N.d. "Laws and Regulations." http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/lawsregs/index.htm [Accessed 3 Nov. 2000]

_____. N.d. "Refugee Definition. http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/services/refugees/Definition.htm [Accessed 3 Nov. 2000]