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
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
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