Gender-Related Persecution as a Basis for Refugee Status: The Emergence of an International Norm

Stephanie Kuttner


In 1993, Canada was the first country to
formally open its doors to refugees fleeing
gender-related persecution. While
the timing of Canada's move may have
been motivated by domestic politics, it
was also tied to an international process
through which the human rights of
women and gender-related persecution
had become politically relevant issues.
This article investigates the emergence
of an international norm accepting gender-
related persecution as a basis for
refugee status. It begins with an overview
of developments on the matter in
other jurisdictions and reveals the role
Canada played by taking a first step. The
article also reveals the process through
which domestic, transnational and international
actors converged to put the
issue of gender-related persecution on
the international agenda.

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