Torched woman persecution case

This case is an important decision from CEDAW about asylum for women. It is the very first case in Denmark where it is decided that Denmark would violate the CEDAW if the author was deported.

Concerning A. vs. Denmark for violation of articles 1, 2 (c) and (d), 3, 12, 15 and 16 of the CEDAW.

The author is a Pakistani national born in 1983. She married a man without consent from their families. Her husband is a Pakistani with a Danish permanent residence permit. When the authors asylum application was rejected, her husband returned to Denmark, and she stayed in Pakistan. During that period she was attacked several times.

Three men broke into the author’s house, beat her, kicked her, threw inflammable liquid at her and set fire to her, causing severe burns to her torso and arms. She was in the hospital for seven or eight months, to recover from her burns, during which time she gave birth to her first child. The attack occurred six days after a group of men broke into her beauty salon and committed vandalism, accusing the employees of performing “dirty work” and calling the place a “sex clinic”. The author believes that the two attacks are linked and that they were organized by her husband’s family. The author further alleges that, in March 2010, while she was taking her son to the hospital in a taxi, unknown men on motorbikes shot at them. She considers that that was a deliberate act because the men came very close to the car to shoot at her. She was not injured, but the driver was.

After these incidents the author fled to Denmark. Her asylum request got rejected again but this time she stayed illegally in Denmark, because she feared that her life would be in danger if she were returned to Pakistan. The State Party again denied her request for asylum, because they, amongst other reasons, found it unlikely that the author would have decided to marry without the consent of her family or of her husband’s family. The Committee is of the view that the State party has failed to fulfil its obligations and has thereby violated the rights of the author under articles 2 (c) and (d) of the Convention.

28. June 2023

CEDAW 53/2013
  • Decision: 8 December 2015
  • Comm: Gender