New UNHCR SOGI Guidelines

Guidelines on International Protection No 9: Claims to Refugee Status based on Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity within the context of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

A new set of guidelines on international protection – superseding the Guidance Note on Refugee Claims relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (2008) – has been issued by UNHCR, for the first time dealing comprehensively with refugee claims based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Issued in October 2012, these new Guidelines provide advice on substantive, procedural, evidentiary and credibility issues relating to such claims. The Guidelines are intended to provide guidance to governments, legal practitioners, decision-makers and the judiciary, as well as to UNHCR staff adjudicating these claims under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. They are also intended to minimise the incorrect and stereotypical assumptions that often influence decision-making in these claims, and to ensure a proper and harmonious interpretation of the refugee definition in the 1951 Convention across jurisdictions.

The Guidelines complement the UNHCR Handbook and Guidelines on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status (reissued in 2011).

Guidelines available at

Other materials on sexual orientation and gender identity can be found on the Special Feature on Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity on Refworld at


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