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June 16, 2021

UNHCR welcomes US decision to restore protections from gang and domestic violence

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the U.S. government’s decision announced 16 June to reverse legal rulings introduced several years ago that effectively made people forced to flee life-threatening domestic and gang violence in their home countries ineligible from being able to seek safety in the United States.

“These rulings have put the lives of vulnerable people at risk,” said Matthew Reynolds, UNHCR Representative to the United States and the Caribbean, after the U.S. Justice Department announced that the legal rulings known as Matter of A-B- and Matter of L-E-A- had been vacated in their entirety.

“Today’s decisions will give survivors fleeing these types of violence a better chance of finding safety in the United States and being treated with the basic compassion and dignity that every single person deserves. UNHCR welcomes this important humanitarian step,” Reynolds said.

UNHCR, he added, also welcomes the U.S. administration’s commitment to bringing its asylum system into line with international standards and specifically to writing new rules on determining membership of a “particular social group,” one of five grounds spelled out in the 1951 Refugee Convention defining who is entitled to international protection as a refugee.

“In keeping with international standards, a simple and broad definition of  ‘particular social group’ is an essential part of a fair and efficient asylum system,” Reynolds said, adding that UNHCR stands ready and willing to support the asylum review and rulemaking process in any way requested by the U.S. government.

Originally reported by UNHCR.