U.S. Government Moves to Strip Vulnerable Women and Girls of Asylum Protections – Media Release


For immediate release – Wednesday July 17, 2020

U.S. government moves to strip vulnerable women and girls of asylum protections


AHA Foundation, Concerned Women for America, and Independent Women’s Forum together urge the U.S. government to amend planned changes to asylum rules that would end gender-based asylum.


Women and girls persecuted for their gender, unable to live safely in their own countries, will be turned away from asylum in the United States if a rule proposed by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security is enacted.


“Millions of women around the world face horrific abuses like female genital mutilation, honor killings, and forced marriage. Through the years, the United States has offered refuge for those fleeing these human rights atrocities. We urge our nation’s leaders not to close the door to those desperately seeking our protection,” says Andrea Bottner, Senior Advisor at Independent Women’s Forum.


These practices are traumatic for women and girls to undergo, can be life-threatening, and are condemned internationally as unacceptable violations of human rights, and when the abuse involves minors, as violations of children’s rights.


“The U.S. government readily acknowledges the existence of gender-based abuse around the globe and devotes resources towards preventing it. In many countries, this violence is either allowed or ignored by those governments charged with protecting their citizens. Closing our doors to individuals fleeing gender-based persecution—including honor violence, forced and child marriage, and female genital mutilation—would be a mistake with grave consequences,” says Amanda Parker, Senior Director at AHA Foundation.


“For over four decades, Concerned Women for America (CWA) has worked to protect the wellbeing, dignity, safety and privacy of women and girls in both law and policy. We urge DOJ and DHS to immediately amend the proposed gender asylum rule to promote policies that support women and girls who are survivors of human rights abuse like child and forced marriage, so-called ‘honor’ killings, and the atrocious practice of female genital mutilation,” says Dr. Shea Garrison, Vice President International Affairs, Concerned Women for America.


In their official comment submitted together regarding the rule change, AHA Foundation, Concerned Women for America, and Independent Women’s Forum also oppose the proposed narrowing of the definition of “political opinion” such that it would exclude women dissidents fighting for their equality. The women’s rights organizations also highlight the problematic nature of the proposal to “bar consideration of evidence promoting cultural stereotypes of countries or individuals” due to the potential to discount well-documented social norms that support violence, often considerations in determining the fear of harm faced by individuals in cases of gender-based abuse.


About the AHA Foundation:

AHA Foundation was established by Ayaan Hirsi Ali in 2007 to put the ideas she writes about into practice. The organization advocates liberty for all by championing human rights and individual liberties above cultural, social or religious imperatives. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, AHA Foundation, raises funds and leads programs to protect women from honor violence, to advance freedom of speech on campuses and in public debate, as well as supporting the work of Muslim reformers.



About Concerned Women for America

Concerned Women for America (CWA) is the largest public policy women’s organization in the United States. For over four decades, CWA has worked to protect the wellbeing, dignity, safety and privacy of women and girls in both law and policy. With “sexual exploitation” as one of its seven core issues, CWA advocates for women and girls who are victims of violence — most recently for justice for survivors of rape and for the passage of federal legislation against female genital mutilation practice in the U.S.



About Independent Women’s Forum

Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that are not just well-intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices and opportunities. IWF has advocated consistently for strong policies to protect women and girls, both in the United States and around the world, from human rights abuses, including efforts against harmful practices like female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honor killings.



For media enquiries, please contact:

Natalie Arroyo, Public Relations Coordinator

e: media@theahafoundation.org