Literature and Human Rights in Africa: Making a Case for a Trauma-Sensitive Approach in Proving Persecution in Asylum Processes through Adichie’s The American Embassy

  • Romola Adeola
Part of the Arts, Research, Innovation and Society book series (ARIS)


The right to seek and enjoy asylum is recognised in international law as a cardinal principle in the safeguard for persons in need of international protection. Drawing on the discretion of states to grant asylum, the right to seek and enjoy asylum is contained in several in a plethora of international soft norms and underscored in international refugee law through the principle of non-refoulement. In the process of seeking asylum, an applicant would need to demonstrate the fact that there was a fear of persecution which is well-founded in the country of origin. This process may entail retelling a factual situation which has psychosocial implications given the sensitivity of the particular situation and its consequences on the mental health of the asylum-seeker. Using Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The American Embassy, this chapter makes the case for trauma-sensitive approach to be utilised in the course of proving persecution in asylum processes.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The American Embassy Short stories Asylum Refugees Trauma Literature Credibility 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romola Adeola
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Law, Centre for Human RightsUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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