Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women: position statement

Our position statement on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Article 9: Nationality

1. States Parties shall grant women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality. They shall ensure, in particular that neither marriage to an alien nor change of nationality by the husband during marriage shall automatically change the nationality of the wife, render her stateless or force upon her the nationality of the husband.

2. States Parties shall grant women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children.

9.1 New Scots strategy

The Scottish Government believes that asylum seekers must be treated fairly and with dignity and respect at all stages of the asylum process. The approach that integration should begin from day one, and not just when leave to remain has been granted, is reflected in the New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy 2018 – 2022. The strategy assists in co-ordinating the work of the Scottish Government, its partner organisations and others in the public, private and third sectors. It is led by the Scottish Government, The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and the Scottish Refugee Council. Engagement to develop the strategy took place over Summer 2017 and involved professionals and volunteers supporting refugees, our communities, and crucially refugees and asylum seekers themselves.

New Scots recognises that refugee and asylum seeking women can face particular challenges which limit or prevent their integration. The strategy has committed to ensuring that the particular needs of women refugees and asylum seekers are better understood, and that appropriate action is taken to enable their participation in the work of New Scots.

NHSScotland provides health services to all asylum seekers in Scotland, including those whose claims have been refused, and asylum seekers in Scotland have access to legal services and legal aid to enable them to pursue their cases. Furthermore, the Scottish Government believes that asylum seekers should be able to work while their claims are under consideration.

9.2 Scottish Guardianship Service ( SGS)

The Scottish Government part-funded the establishment of the Scottish Guardianship Service ( SGS) in 2010 to offer local authorities specific support with issues affecting unaccompanied children. The SGS has enabled separated children to learn about the welfare and immigration processes directly, making the information relevant to their specific circumstances. The Scottish Government currently provides £300,000 grant aid per year to the SGS, which has enabled the provision of assistance, support and representation to over 200 unaccompanied asylum seeking children since the service started.

Under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015, the independent child trafficking guardian has been put on a statutory footing. A child's eligibility for this service will be where there is reason to be believe that the child has been subject to trafficking or is at risk of trafficking, and where there is no one with parental rights and responsibilities for that child. The Scottish Government will consult on the role of the Independent Child Trafficking Guardians ( ICTG) in 2018.

Refugees are entitled to be reunited with certain family members who remain abroad, and the Scottish Government believes that the process should be made easier and quicker. Scottish Ministers have pressed the UK Government on issues such as 30 day visas and the extension of eligibility criteria.

The Scottish Government welcomed the Scottish Parliament's Equalities and Human Rights Committee's ( EHRiC) report, Hidden Lives – New Beginnings: Destitution, asylum and insecure immigration status in Scotland . The report recommends that the scope of the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession should be extended to cover all women with insecure immigration status, including asylum seekers.


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