Guidelines on refugee and stateless women welcomed by UNHCR

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A stateless woman in front of her shelter in southern Lebanon. UNHCR/J. Saidi

A new set of international guidelines to promote a more-gender sensitive approach to dealing with women refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people has been welcomed by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The guidelines, issued by the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), call on governments to take account of the abuses suffered by women who flee their country.

They include arranging for women-asylum seekers to be interviewed by female case officers.

The guidelines also call for allowing women to present their own claim for asylum in an environment, free from intimidation.

Another key focus is women's right to nationality, including the right to acquire, change or retain their nationality and to confer it on to their children and spouses.

According to UNHCR there are still 27 countries which do not allow women to pass on their nationality to their children.

It points out that this can render children stateless, with devastating consequences for their childhood and into adulthood.

UNHCR says the CEDAW guidelines are an important tool to prevent future generations joining the ranks of the world's 10 million stateless people.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations

Duration:  1’15″


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