Prevalence of Gender-Based Asylum Claims and Persecution

In general, it is not possible from state records to determine what kind of persecution was experienced by asylum claimants.  While the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) publishes annual and quarterly asylum reports for each country, these reports do not define the persecution category.  There has also been a call from the UNHCR for countries to begin publishing their asylum statistics with categories including gender and age, as the UNHCR recognizes that there is currently a lack of credible statistics on gender-based persecution cases and other types of asylum cases involving women and children.  According to the information provided to the UNHCR Branch Offices, only 44% of countries currently produce gender-differentiated statistics on asylum applications.  From: Heaven Crawley and Trine Lester, “Comparative analysis of gender-related persecution in national asylum legislation and practice in Europe,” UNHCR.

The Center for Gender Related Studies keeps a database of past and current asylum cases involving gender-related persecution.  The database can be searched by country of origin, country of asylum application, or by type of harm experienced, and is a useful tool in gathering case law for specific gender-based asylum situations.

In addition, general asylum trends, including relocation patterns, can be determined on a country-by-country basis through the UNHCR statistics which are issued on an annual and quarterly basis.  

Based on the UNHCR statistics for 2007, country profiles have been prepared for the CEE/FSU countries listed below (UNHCR Statistical Online Population Database, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Data extracted: 04/20/09). Each data sheet contains information on where people from that particular country are choosing to apply for asylum (for example, the countries receiving the most asylum applications from Bulgarians in 2007 were Switzerland, Belguim and the United States), as well as how many asylum petitions were approved/recognized and how many were rejected (Canada approved 5 asylum petitions from Bulgarian applicants and the U.S. approved over 100, but European countries did not recognize/approve any asylum claims coming from Bulgaria in 2007). These statistics include data for all asylum cases, not just gender-based persecution, and this information should be used only to determine general trends, relocation movements, and overall approval rates of asylum applicants from these countries.