UNHCR - Guidance note on refugee claims relating to female genital mutilation (2009)

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This UNHCR Guidance Note provides guidance on the treatment of claims for refugee status relating to FGM. It establishes that a girl or woman seeking asylum because she has been compelled to undergo, or is likely to be subjected to FGM, can qualify for refugee status under the 1951 Refugee Convention. Under certain circumstances, a parent could also establish a well-founded fear of persecution, within the scope of the 1951 Convention refugee definition, in connection with the exposure of his or her child to the risk of FGM.

The note undertakes substantive analysis of the ‘well-founded fear of persecution’, examining child-specific forms of persecution, FGM as a continuing form of harm, the agents of persecution, and the availability of State protection.