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European Parliament Calls for Greater LGBT Asylum Protections

European Parliament Calls for Greater LGBT Asylum Protections

Members of the European Parliament voted this week on measures to modernize the way asylum claims are handled, with an emphasis on how asylum claims made on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are overseen.

In the past few years member states have seen an increase in asylum claims on the basis of LGBT identity. How much deference to give these claims, and how to assess claims made on the basis of an applicant’s LGBT identity have long been issues of contention.

With this week’s changes the European Parliament is seeking to clarify the obligations of member states to fairly investigate such claims, to protect the privacy of applicants and also a greater fairness in how those claims are processed.

From UK Gay News:

In a report drafted by French centre-left MEP Sylvie Guillaume (Socialists & Democrats), the European Parliament adopted a series of amendments to guarantee that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people seeking asylum in the EU would receive particular attention.

Measures include providing expert advice to asylum officials on sexual orientation and gender identity; protecting claimants’ privacy; guaranteeing that physical examinations fully respect human dignity and integrity, for instance in cases involving minors or transgender people; and ensuring that applications by LGBT asylum-seekers are not ‘fast-tracked’ for removal to their country of origin.

“This is a major step towards fully complying with our engagements under international asylum law,” said Sirpa Pietikäinen, member of the centre-right European People’s Party and vice-president of the Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup,

“I am particularly proud that my centre-right colleagues agreed on the need for special protection, regardless of their general position on asylum.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people fleeing countries such as Iraq, Uganda, Honduras or Indonesia must receive particular protection taking into account cultural sensitivity,” she added.

Advocates point out that 76 countries currently criminalize homosexuality, whether through explicit bans or penal codes with edicts on sexual propriety, and several have the death penalty, possibly with Uganda soon to join them. Many also fail to even recognize trans identity. As such, the need for these updated policies is very real, with LGBT people often suffering real and present dangers in their home countries.

Amendments to the asylum policies were approved on first reading but will need to be examined by EU member states before it can be formally adopted and agreed upon.

 

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Rock Cohen.

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53 comments

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5:59AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

thank you

1:06PM PDT on Apr 24, 2011

Good thinking! Hope the EU acts on it too. It's horrible to read about LGBT being sent back to countries like Zimbabwe, Uganda, Iraq, Afganistan and Iran. Any country denying people the right to stay for fear of losing their life if returning, should face charges of being accomplicies to torture, rape and murder!

12:16PM PDT on Apr 12, 2011

Hope these measures are approved by EU member states.

9:04AM PDT on Apr 11, 2011

Good job!

7:25AM PDT on Apr 11, 2011

clive b. : homosexuality is not an 'ìdea 'but a state of being that occurs all throughout nature. The only depravity involved id the opposition based on ancient texts written by people who had no understanding of the world in which they lived. There are people like that today, except they refuse to understand their world, & reject science which encompasses the laws of any deity.

2:18AM PDT on Apr 11, 2011

Thanks for the information

8:48PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

A person's sexual orientation or gender identity should not be grounds for discrimination.

2:58PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

With its demographics taking it toward a state of "Eurabia," replete with Shari'a Law, the European Union can guarantee no safety for any homosexual with the ability to read trends or cast an eye to the near future. Between the EU's Procrustean bureaucracy and Islamist marauder gangs in the streets, European pluralism faces extinction and its democracies are becoming islands under siege. This is less and less a safe haven; America and Israel offer better bets.

6:41AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

good!

9:29PM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

Good!

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