On the eve of World Refugee Day, the European Asylum Support Office is taking charge of supporting the asylum process in the EU. This agency is expected to be fully operational by 19 June 2011. This is an opportunity to fight discrimination and ensure gender and equality perpsectives are embedded in its structure and work plan.

The EASO is mandated to engage in support activities that can promote practical cooperation. This includes activities such as recommendations, referral to scientific authority, networking and pooling of good practice, evaluation of the application and implementation of rules etc.

The latest developments in terms of the EASO’s structural organisation, recruitment and policy work have not appeared to be gender-sensitive and no mark of public strong commitments towards the integration of a gender perspective into its structure and work plan have been identified. There are also concerns about the capacity of the EASO to elaborate a sexual orientation and gender identity-sensitive approach.

Τhe END FGM European Campaign, the EWL and ILGA-Europe decided to form a coalition and write common recommendations to the EASO on how to undertake a proper integration of a gender perspective into its work. The coalition considers it is crucial the EASO starts laying the foundation for a proper mainstreaming of gender, sexual orientation and gender identity during its first years of activity.

These recommendations are assembled in a digest entitled “En-gendering the European Asylum Support Office“.

The objective of the digest is three-fold:
– To remind the EASO of the EU obligations and commitments to promote gender equality and to fight discrimination based on gender and towards LGBT persons. In this respect, the EU has an obligation to carry out gender and equality mainstreaming.
– To give the EASO concrete policy elements to be considered for a full integration of a gender, sexual orientation and gender identity perspective in the structure and in the work of the agency.
– To provide examples from EU member states and NGOs illustrating how these recommendations can be implemented.

MIGS is coordinating the promotion of the digest and other actions taken on a national level. For more information please contact Christina Kaili at christina@medinstgenderstudies.org .