Federal Court Recognizes Threat of “Honor Killing” as Social Group for Asylum & Refugee Applications

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recognized “that the practice of honor killing is still widespread in certain parts of the world” and “that along with female genital mutilation, human trafficking and slavery, spousal rape and domestic battery, it is among the most severe abuses that women face around the globe.  The Court further stated that “vital though the enforcement of our immigration laws may be, it is equally important to give full force to the features of those laws that are designed to give shelter in theUnited States to people who would experience extraordinary abuse if they were sent back to their homecountry. The laws regarding asylum, withholding ofremoval, and the United States’s international obligations under the CAT are no less important than the laws establishing the general rules for immigration.”

The Court determined that ”women whose behavior violates that society’s moral norms (and who thus may suffer this consequence) form a coherent social group, that the ensuing death normally at the hand of a family member amounts to persecution on account of their membership in that group, and that the government continues to be unwilling or unable to stop this brutality.  (Sarhan v. Holder, 9/2/11) USCA 7th Circuit.

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