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Gender guidelines for refugee decision makers

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M e d i a R e l e a s e

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MR Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (06) 277 7860 Facsimile: (06) 273 4144

MPS 34/96


Guidelines dealing with gender related claims by asylum seekers have been finalised the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock announced today.

"I am very pleased to release the guidelines today, particularly as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is visiting Australia," Mr Ruddock said.

"The guidelines reflect the Government's commitment to work with the UNHCR to ensure bona fide refugees are given every opportunity to present their case in a sensitive and fair process."

"These guidelines do not change the UN criteria that Australia uses for recognition of a refugee. However, they will ensure that decision-makers deal with gender- related claims in a sensitive and consistent manner."

"My Department has consulted extensively with key agencies on the guidelines and their views have been taken into account and modifications made."

Mr Ruddock announced his commitment to consult on the completion of the guidelines at the Women in Migration Conference, organised by the Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research on 3 June 1996.

The Minister noted then that women refugees and asylum seekers might face particular problems in seeking protection.

"They might experience persecution differently to men and they do not necessarily have the same remedies for state protection, nor the same opportunities for flight," Mr Ruddock said.

"The result is that some women asylum seekers have difficulty in having decision makers recognise the particular forms of persecution they face. They might also experience difficulties in discussing claims related to sexual violence or cultural difficulties."

The guidelines will be used by all officers of the Department making decisions on refugee cases.

CANBERRA 15 July 1996

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