International Human Rights Law Clinic Wins Asylum Victory
In June, the International Human Rights Law Clinic won a difficult asylum victory for a client from Uganda. Working with Visiting Professor Kate Jastram, Gabriella Raymond ’04 and Maria Weydemuller ’04 submitted a brief and legal research to the San Francisco Asylum Office last fall on behalf of Mary (not her real name), a Ugandan woman who fled her home country after contracting AIDS from her abusive husband.
The clinic’s brief argued that Mary should be granted asylum based on claims of stigmatization due to HIV status and gender violence. At age 19, Mary was forced to marry the man who raped and impregnated her. She was beaten regularly and soon contracted HIV as a result of his infidelities. Her second son was born HIV positive. Because of the enormous stigma and shame attached to HIV in Uganda, Mary suffered severe social ostracism and discrimination, as well as increasing brutality from her husband. She was also denied any sort of medical treatment for her condition and, after fleeing her husband’s violence, was unable to get a job or an apartment.
The brief was reviewed by the San Francisco office and referred to the national Asylum Office in Washington, D.C., where it remained under review for 6 months before it was approved. The victory is particularly significant because asylum is rarely granted for persecution due to HIV status. The clinic is now working with Mary to bring her oldest son, who is now her last surviving family member, to the United States. For more information, please contact Erin Campbell at 510-643-8010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.