United Nations, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW): M.C. v. Ecuador

In January 2015, the clinic, in concert with Asylum Access Ecuador (AAE), submitted an initial communication (complaint) before the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on behalf of a female Colombian refugee who fled to Ecuador after suffering years of severe domestic violence at the hands of her ex-husband. Ecuador denied her refugee claim on the basis that the reasons she left her country were not envisaged in the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugee and its 1967 Protocol as requiring international protection.

The communication to the CEDAW committee alleges that Ecuador has failed to uphold its obligations under the CEDAW Convention to protect against gender discrimination. It also alleges that Ecuador has failed to eradicate such discrimination and traditional forms of gender bias from the public sphere. It seeks to have Ecuador establish gender-sensitive procedures or to train Ecuadorian officials on the nature of domestic violence as a form of gender-based violence that may rise to the level of gender-based persecution.