Statement on Feminist Asylum


Together with a number of other organisations, RFSL today launches a petition for effective recognition of the specific grounds for asylum for women, girls, and LGBTIQA+ people. The signature collection campaign will continue for 6 months. Read more below and sign the petition!

Sign the petition here.

Feminist Asylum: for an effective recognition of the specific grounds for asylum for women, girls and LGBTIQA+ people

Sexual and gender-based violence -including domestic violence, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, genital mutilation, trafficking, discriminatory legislation, repudiation, deprivation of their children- are specific reasons for women, girls and LGBTIQA+ people to flee their countries and seek asylum in Europe.

To flee, to take the road is then to be almost systematically exposed to violence and exploitation along the migration route: sexual violence by smugglers or in refugee camps, sexual exploitation or forced labour and confinement in trafficking networks in transit countries, including in European countries, threats, trauma and danger to their children. On arrival in Europe, asylum procedures are inadequate and the reception unworthy!

However, since 2008, the Convention on Action against Human Trafficking has established the obligation to receive trafficked persons in Europe and the conditions necessary for this.

Then in 2011, the Istanbul Convention, signed by all European countries, extended the grounds for asylum set out in the 1951 Geneva Convention to gender-based persecution and violence against women: in these cases, international protection is a right!

In practice, however, European countries rarely respect their commitments: the reasons for asylum applications relating to gender-based violence are not taken into consideration, either because the conditions of the hearing and analysis are not conducive to highlighting this specific violence, or because these reception obligations are ignored by the representatives of the national authorities.

We activists living in Europe want things to change. We do not want people who are victims of gender-based violence to continue to be treated as undesirables instead of being protected. We want our voices to be heard by European leaders so that the specific asylum grounds of women, girls and LGBTQI+ people are effectively recognised. Today, 11 November 2021, we call on the people of Europe to support our citizen’s initiative by signing the European petition which can be found in several languages on the website

This petition is addressed to the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Council and all national governments in the Schengen area. It calls for concrete measures to be taken to ensure that all international conventions signed in Europe and in the Schengen area do not remain dead letters.

We call:

  • that the necessary means for the establishment of adequate procedures and structures for the effective recognition of asylum grounds specific to women, girls and LGBTIQA+ persons be deployed by the European Commission and national governments ;
  • the effective implementation of the Istanbul Convention and the Convention on Action against Human Trafficking -guaranteed by the establishment of a European supervisory structure- so that victims of gender-based violence are recognised, supported and afforded international protection;
  • for facilitated legal channels for women, girls and LGBTIQA+ people to apply for asylum in Europe.

This petition is launched by the Feminist Asylum coalition, which already includes movements, collectives, associations, parties and trade unions committed to the defence of migrants’ rights and the rights of women and LGBTIQA+ people.

The signature collection campaign will continue for 6 months allowing other citizen collectives, but also any individual to make their voice heard and show their support to put an end to the closing policies of European countries.

The countries of Europe have the means to establish a land of asylum worthy of the name. Anyone who has suffered gender-based and sexual violence in their own country or on the road to exile must be granted asylum and provided with reception and care conditions that allow them to rebuild their lives in safety. We refuse to be complicit in the policies of exclusion and death that affect some of the most precarious people in our world. We will not give up this fight for the fundamental right of women and LGBTIQA+ people around the world to live in dignity and safety.

Coalition Feminist Asylum-Pétition féministe européenne