Blogs > HNN > Arab abuse victim granted asylum in Spain

Jun 1, 2005 11:43 pm

Arab abuse victim granted asylum in Spain

Arab abuse victim granted asylum in landmark move
Spain gives woman refugee status on grounds of domestic violence

El Pais Spain | A. EATWELL


Spain has granted exile to a woman from the Persian Gulf who suffered abuse at the hands of her husband and his family, in an unprecedented move that acknowledges domestic violence as grounds for awarding asylum, Interior Minister José Antonio Alonso announced Tuesday.

Alonso did not disclose the nationality or identity of the 38-year-old mother of two, but said her asylum request had been accepted because she had suffered discrimination in her own country and had no other option but to seek refuge in Spain. The continual abuse she had suffered and her inability to escape it in her own country had caused psychological trauma, which, the minister said, she is now being treated for in Spain.

"There're certain areas of the world where women are forced to marry, they suffer abuse from their husbands and their families and receive no protection from the authorities," Alonso said. "For the Interior Ministry these women belong to a social group that is eligible for refugee status in Spain."

The exile offered to this woman represents the first time that Spain has awarded asylum to someone on grounds of domestic violence. The interior minister stressed that the decision is based on the Geneva Convention regarding what constitutes a refugee and their status.

Women's rights groups described the move as "historic."

It is a "recognition of abused women as victims of human rights violations, and hence it's logical that they be granted asylum," Ana Gómez Plaza, from the Women for Democracy group, said.

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