The adoption of gender guidelines aiming to ensure consistency in gender-sensitive interpretation of the UN Refugee Convention definition demonstrates a general acceptance that gender is relevant to the question of who is a refugee. However, there is evidence that States have failed to adequately undertake the process of gender-sensitive interpretation and implement these guidelines comprehensively. Accordingly, this article argues that the general rule of treaty interpretation in international law enables the identification of a legal obligation of State Parties to the Refugee Convention to take gender into account when interpreting the refugee definition. The precise scope and nature of the duty of States to take gender into account is identified through a dynamic approach to interpretation by reference to international human rights norms. Overall, this article claims that the conceptualisation of a legal obligation in international law to interpret the refugee definition in a way that takes gender into account is inhibited by the development of a distinct category of ‘gender-related asylum claims’ within gender and refugee law scholarship. Consequently, this article presents a challenge to the borders implicit in the category of ‘gender-related asylum claims’ by revisiting the boundaries of international refugee law.
Querton, C. (2019). Gender and the boundaries of international refugee law: Beyond the category of ‘gender-related asylum claims’. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, 37(4), 379-397. https://doi.org/10.1177/0924051919884764