Step forward for clarity and dignity in treatment of LGBTI asylum seekers

Scotland's member of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Alyn Smith, has welcomed today’s European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in the case of A,B and C that while Member States are entitled to verify the application of those seeking asylum based on their sexual orientation, the assessment procedures used cannot violate the individual’s rights to human dignity and private and family life.

The A,B,C case concerned the asylum applications of three individuals who were all rejected on the grounds that their sexual orientation had not been proven. The Court has ruled certain practices in making assessments to be incompatible with human rights.

It held that assessments should not: 

a) be based on stereotypes, such as the applicant’s knowledge of gay rights organisations or stereotypical behaviours;

b) include questions on the sexual practices of the applicant;

c) require the applicant to complete so-called ‘tests’ to confirm their sexuality, such as producing images or videos of sexual acts;

d) draw negative credibility findings from the sole fact that an applicant did not declare their sexual orientation at the outset of their asylum application. 

Alyn said:

"This ruling is a real step forward, and will allow the Member States to work on decent assessments which will still prove the truth of statements while actually treating people with respect.

"Too many of the world's most vulnerable have been subjected to treatment at the hands of immigration and asylum authorities that is little short of degrading, and this ruling will give some much needed clarity and uniformity.

"LGBTI people in too many places are in an awful situation, and it should be a source of great pride for us that Europe is seen as a haven and a refuge.  We should ensure that our authorities treat applicants with the respect and dignity they deserve."