The EU’s top court has ruled that asylum seekers must not be subjected to psychological tests to determine whether they are homosexual. The European Court of Justice ruling is binding in all 28 EU states.
In December 2014 the ECJ ruled that sexuality tests violated asylum seekers’ human rights.
In the new ruling, the court said “certain forms of expert reports may prove useful” in such cases. Such reports interfered with a person’s privacy. Authorities must also determine the reliability of a claimant’s statements.
EU countries now have no legal right to impose psychological tests to determine an asylum seeker’s sexuality.
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Reuters has been investigating the experiences in Britain of GLBTQI assylum seekers.
Even though Britain is more tolerant, LGBTi asylum seekers still face discrimination, threats and even violent attacks, said Sebastian Rocca, chief executive of Micro Rainbow International (MRI), a charity working to eliminate discrimination and poverty among LGBTi people.
“One of the problems that LGBTi asylum seekers and refugees face is that because of their sexuality they are extremely isolated and vulnerable,” Rocca said.
Lack of safe housing is a widespread problem as they are often placed in housing with people from their own countries, or with those who are anti-gay because of their religious and cultural backgrounds.
The Home Office says an estimated 6 percent of asylum claims made in Britain between July 2015 and March 2017 were based on sexual orientation. One in four were successful. Most asylum claims involving sexuality were Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Nigerian applicants. The Home Office said it “remains committed to improving the process for those claiming asylum on this basis” and that it ensures housing provide to LGBTi asylum seekers is safe.
There is now at least one provider which only provides temporary homes for GLBTIQ applicants.
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Campaigners are fighting to stop the Home Office deporting a lesbian woman, Lazia Nabbanja, to Uganda, where she could face persecution under the country’s anti-gay laws. She claimed asylum in the UK on the grounds that she would face oppression in her home country. Her bid was rejected by the Home Office last year.
Home Office officials used alleged inconsistencies in the details of her relationships to suggest they did not believe she is gay.
After a very long wait the Home Office have released some provisional figures revealing the fate of gay assylum seekers. The HO describe the figures as “experimental” whatever that means.
In the last two years a total of 3,535 asylum applications were made by people fleeing persecution at least partly based on their sexual orientation. That is around 6 percent of all asylum claims. More than two-thirds of these were rejected.
Of cases with a clear resolution, 2,379 claims were rejected, and just 838 approved.
The Home Office accepted just 63 gay asylum seekers from Nigeria, where gay people can face extreme violence or decades in jail. 268 gay Nigerians were turned away.
A gay man who is HIV-positive is facing deportation from the UK after his claim for asylum was rejected, despite homosexuality being punishable by up to three years in jail in Morocco.
Abderrahim sought asylum in May after being the subject of verbal abuse and death threats because of his sexual orientation. The Home Office has rejected his application and his appeal was dismissed by a first-tier tribunal judge earlier this month, reports the Guardian.
The Home Office accepted Abderrahim as being gay, but its refusal letter said that his “claimed treatment does not amount to persecution”.
The United Nations reports on the Ukraine, where they found that gay men are fleeing for their lives.
When Viktor (not his real name), a 27-year-old gay man, opened his door to police one morning, he knew his secret was out.
His claims of having a girlfriend met with scorn – one of his neighbours had told them everything. Unless Viktor could present the woman within 24 hours or pay a bribe he could not afford, he would be arrested.
Panicked, he packed a bag. By the evening, he was gone.
Many LGBTI people face stigma, harassment and violent attacks. In some cases, home has become such a terrifying place that the only option is to leave.
“It is not easy to be LGBTI in the East,” says a shelter director, Olena Shevchenko. “They can beat you, they can rape you. It’s not possible to be open, because you’re never sure what will happen next. You need to lead a hidden life.”
To Your Activist what is happening to gay men in parts of the world is little more than Ethnic Cleansing.
As of this week, 22 people – about a third of those who were being sheltered in Russian safe houses – are now in Toronto and other Canadian cities. The Canadian government has been helping gay Chechen men from Russia to find assylum in Canada.
The evacuations fall outside the conventions of international law and could further impair already tense relations between Russia and Canada.
“Canada accepted a large number of people who are in great danger, and that is wonderful,” said Tanya Lokshina, Russian program director for Human Rights Watch, a New York-based organization, in a telephone interview. “The Canadian government deserves much praise for showing such openness and goodwill to provide sanctuary for these people. They did the right thing.”