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Written Answers. - Refugee Status.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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 152. Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  his views on whether persecution on the basis of gender is a ground for a well-founded claim to convention refugee status. [18745/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell The 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees and section 2 of the Refugee Act, 1996, as amended, defines a refugee, inter alia, as a person who, owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his or her former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.

In relation to the issue of gender specific persecution, section 1 of the Refugee Act, as amended, defines “membership of a particular social group” as including “membership of a trade union and also includes membership of a group of persons whose defining characteristic is their belonging to the female or the male sex or having a particular sexual orientation.”

[1225]Consideration of individual applications for refugee status based on gender grounds or otherwise is a matter for two independent statutory offices, namely, the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner which considers asylum applications at first instance and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal which considers applications at appeals stage.


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