Political Asylum for Women

In June of last year, Canada granted political refugee status to an Ecuadoran women who had escaped ten years of domestic violence, including marital rape. Her husband had threatened to kill her and local police had refused protection. The Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board ruled that this constituted persecution if she returned to her home country. The board cited Canada's new immigration guidelines--the first in the world that grant asylum to women facing gender violence. In July two Guatemalan sisters were also granted asylum: their father was allied with rebels, and government troops had threatened to rape the two young women repeatedly. (From Ms., Sept./Oct. 1993)