The UC Hastings Center for Gender & Refugee Studies: A Matter of Life or Death
The UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies is one of several outstanding legal aid centers Kazan Law’s Foundation supports. We have supported the UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies for many years and are proud to do so.
Our firm’s foundation also supports multiple major research efforts dedicated to finding better ways to treat mesothelioma, the lethal cancer caused by asbestos exposure. However we also take seriously our social responsibility role both in our community here in Oakland and in the world around us. We are proud of our decision to support compelling causes such as the UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.
How the UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies Saves Lives
Human trafficking, forced marriage, female genital cutting, honor killing, domestic violence, child abuse, incest, and rape. These are the unfortunate realties facing many women, children and other refugees in the world today who are desperately trying to escape gender-based violence and other forms of mistreatment and exploitation.
Like women and children, LGBT individuals are also subject to high rates of violence in refugee-producing countries. Nearly 80 countries around the world have laws criminalizing homosexuality, often with harsh punishments of prison and death.
The UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies advocates for refugees seeking asylum based on gender-based persecution and seeks asylum for those trying to escape it. At the same time, the Center works internationally to try to stop the epidemic of gender-based violence that forces people to literally run for their lives and face an unknown and uncertain future elsewhere.
“The UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies envisions a world where no one is subject to persecution because of his or her gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or membership in a family or other social group,” their mission states. We are proud to help support this mission.
What the UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies Does
The UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies has utilized the funding they receive from our firm’s Foundation and other sources to help some of the most vulnerable and needy human beings on the planet. Since 1999, this small organization has done ground-breaking work on behalf of refugees – primarily women and children — seeking asylum in the US. The UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies provides training, technical assistance, and oversees litigation involving asylum cases based on domestic violence, human trafficking, the gender-based killing and mutilation of girls and other gender-based violence.
In addition to providing legal expertise and training, the UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies provides research, helps with court appeals and advocates for international human rights to address the root causes of persecution.
An Update from UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
Recently, Kazan Law of Counsel Fran Schreiberg had the opportunity to hear about the UC Hastings College of Law Center for Gender & Refugee Studies. She attended an event that provided an update of their recent work. Here is what Fran reported to us:
Karen Musalo, founding director of the UC Hastings College of Law – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies and professor at UC Hastings, led the program. She presented a video of an early interview by Ted Koeppel with a then-17 year old girl who fled Togo after a forced marriage to a man three times her age. The girl escaped with the help of her mother and sister to avoid female circumcision. Her case resulted in a precedent-setting decision from the Board of Immigration Appeals, the nation’s highest immigration tribunal. It established that women fleeing female genital cutting, and by extension gender-based persecution more generally, may be eligible for asylum in the United States. Musalo was the lead attorney on the case and the case was the catalyst for her founding of the Center for Gender& Refugee Studies at Hastings, a University of California law school in San Francisco.
She also showed an excerpt from a video that focused on the recent asylum case of a Guatemalan woman who fled extreme domestic abuse. After 15 years of remaining silent on the issue, on August 26, 2014, the Board of Immigration Appeals issued a precedential decision recognizing domestic violence as a basis for asylum, with the potential to affect immigrant women across the country. The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies assisted the attorney in this case with briefing and strategy and filed a friend of the court brief in support of the client. Now, for the first time there is a binding precedent to support domestic violence survivors who seek asylum protection in the United States.
The program continued with two young women who help staff the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies who discussed their inspiring work helping children who seek asylum to escape violence from gangs, their families, forced recruitment as child soldiers and other violations of their human rights. The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies staffers traveled to detention centers around the country to train and provide technical assistance to volunteer attorneys who come for a week to help defend these children at their hearings. The attorneys help the children by educating the hearing officers about the greater communication challenges for children and about forms and manifestations of persecution unique to children
It was very meaningful for us to learn about the significant work that has resulted in part from the Kazan Law Partners’ Foundation donations to the UC Hastings – Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.