The Importance of Nonphysical Harm: Psychological Harm and Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in U.S. Asylum Law

Immigration Briefings, Issue 14-09, September 2014

28 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2015

Date Written: September 10, 2014

Abstract

This article highlights the importance of considering non-physical harm in developing and presenting asylum cases, drawing on recent examples from federal court cases, decisions by the Board of Immigration Appeals, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service training materials, among others. The article first provides an overview of the meaning of persecution under U.S. asylum law and international refugee law. Next, the article addresses evolving interpretations of psychological and emotional harm and violations of economic, social, and cultural rights in U.S. law. The article then concludes with practical guidance on how to develop and present asylum claims involving nonphysical harm.

Keywords: persecution, psychological harm, human rights, asylum

Suggested Citation

Ardalan, Sabrineh and Lawrence, Palmer, The Importance of Nonphysical Harm: Psychological Harm and Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in U.S. Asylum Law (September 10, 2014). Immigration Briefings, Issue 14-09, September 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2635698

Sabrineh Ardalan (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

6 Everett Street
Wasserstein Hall 3103
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-384-7504 (Phone)
617-495-8595 (Fax)

Palmer Lawrence

Immigrant Justice Corps

New York, NY
United States

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