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Homosexuals fearing persecution may claim refugee status in EU

November 07, 2013, 16:04 UTC+3

European Court of Justice passes judgment that homosexual applicants for asylum can constitute a particular social group

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ITAR-TASS/Ruslan Shamukov

ITAR-TASS/Ruslan Shamukov

MOSCOW, November 7 (Itar-Tass) – The European Court of Justice has passed judgment for three cases of nationals of Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal seeking asylum in the Netherlands. The applicants claimed that they have a “well-founded fear of being persecuted in their countries of origin by reason of their sexual orientation,” the Court’s press release states, adding that “homosexual acts are a criminal offence in those three countries and may lead to serious punishment, from heavy fines to life imprisonment in certain cases. “

In passing this ruling, the European Court of Justice recognized that “that the existence of criminal laws specifically targeting homosexuals” means that “those persons form a separate group which is perceived by the surrounding society as being different. “

As such, homosexual applicants for asylum can be treated as a social group. However, the press release stresses that the sole fact of homosexual orientation is not sufficient to apply; alyssum seekers not only need to have well-grounded fears of being persecuted, but also “in order for a violation of fundamental rights to constitute persecution within the meaning of the Geneva Convention it must be sufficiently serious […] not all violations of the fundamental rights of a homosexual applicant for asylum will necessarily reach this level of seriousness. “


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