Autonomous Women’s Centre considers that it is necessary to improve the proposed provisions of the Draft Law on Asylum and Temprorary Protection concerning the protection of female migrants and asylum seekers, in accordance with the Council of Europe Convention on Violence against Women, ratified by Serbia in 2013.

The draft law should be extended to include gender‐based asylum claims and non‐refoulement principle, as required by this Convention. Gender-based asylum claims require states to ensure that gender‐ based violence against women may be recognized as a form of persecution and as a form of serious harm giving rise to complementary/subsidiary protection. It also means that states are obliged to develop gender‐ sensitive reception procedures and support services for asylum‐seekers as well as gender guidelines and gender‐sensitive asylum procedures.

The principle of non-refoulement requires states to ensure that victims of violence against women who are in need of protection, regardless of their status or residence, shall not be returned under any circumstances to any country where their life would be at risk or where they might be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

AWC also proposed amendment of the definition of refugees, adding characteristics such as gender, gender identity and experience of gender-based violence, as a complement to the definition of family members, equating marriage and recognition of common-law spouses and other persons who were in close emotional relationship with the person who submitted or was granted asylum or temporary protection.

The proposed amendments are also related to the procedure, to ensure that victims of gender-based violence be heard in private by a person of the same sex and translator or interpreter of the same sex, the victim should not be examined more than twice, and the presence of the guardianship authority shall be obligatory when it comes to minor.