Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Asylum for the World’s Battered Women

This article from New York Times discusses a very controversial issue: should the victims of domestic violence be granted asylum or anyother form of political protection? The five categories under which asylum is granted do not accomodate women who flee domestic violence. Though the category of "a particular social group" can be manipulated for some of the cases, but it does not work for every single victim. Clearly, the CAT does not apply to such victims either. The article discusses the journey of one such victim, an Indian woman from Hyderabad to the United States to find relief from her husband's inhumane beatings. What does everyone think about the article and the current asylum law? Is it time to broaden the international asylum law to provide protection to the victims of domestic violence?

1 comment:

Malika said...

This article was definitely good food for thought. I paid particular attention to the case of the Indian woman (due to an obvious bias). I think the sad truth is that no matter how fast India is progressing and growing, there are certain repurcussions of her growth that we just do not account for.

Hyderabad is a great, big metropolis, and like any metropolitian city, it has skyscrapers, five-star hotels and casinos...quite a few of them.

This article truly got me thinking, because although one of the grounds for asylum is membership in a particular social group, it is very vaguely defined. What exactly is meant by an "immutable characteristic" is unclear and very often decided upon by the Judge's discretion. Although being a woman is an immutable characteristic, is being a woman who is abused by her husband immutable as well? The woman herself may not be able to change it, but what if the man stops abusing her?

Once again, it seems a lot of this hangs in case law.