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Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS)
Protecting Refugees, Advancing Human Rights
"The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies protects the fundamental human rights of refugee women, children, LGBT individuals, and others who flee persecution in their home countries through legal expertise and training, impact litigation, policy development, research, and in-country fact-finding." --CGRS Mission Statement
The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) was the brainchild of San Francisco law professor Karen Musalo. CGRS works to protect women and children seeking protection and asylum from gender-based harms in their countries of origin.
The work CGRS does includes mentoring and training pro bono counsel for people accepted as clients of CGRS. This expertise and assistance has led to many successful protections that often include securing asylum in the United States.
2015 was a stellar year for the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies. CGRS’s accomplishments on the front lines of advancing refugee rights in 2015 included:
Professor Karen Musalo was lead attorney in Matter of Kasinga in 1996. A young woman had fled her country and sought asylum in the United States. She was set to be married to an old man into his polygamous marital family and was to first undergo female genital mutilation. The legal argument, fear of female genital cutting as a basis for asylum, eventually succeeded, the first of its kind. After assisting Ms. Kasinga, Ms. Musalo realized the need for a nonprofit that addressed women seeking asylum based on gender violence. The Kasinga case continues to be cited as authority in gender asylum cases by numerous countries’ tribunals.
Other famous cases include Rody Alvarado’s landmark case which set precedent recognizing the right to asylum for women fleeing their country of origin from domestic violence. PBS made a moving documentary about Ms. Alvarado’s case entitled, Breaking Free: A Woman's Story.
KABF was happy to support the important and compelling work of CGRS with a grant in 2015. Lana Dalberg, Director of Development and Communications, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies writes:
“On behalf of the many refugee women and children we strive to protect, we want to thank the Kelly Ann Brown Foundation. We hope that with support from foundations like yours, we will achieve much more in 2016 in support of women and children fleeing domestic abuse, gang violence, and gender-based harms in Central America and elsewhere."
Find out more about CGRS by clicking here.