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Gays who face persecution should be given asylum says EU

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  1. Robert, ex-pat Brit 10 Feb 2009, 1:41pm

    Even if such legislation were to be enacted which I doubt, you can bet the UK would be the first western European nation to demand an opt-out clause no matter who occupies number 10.

  2. Kathleen Y. Drury 10 Feb 2009, 5:17pm

    What will the European Commission, a European Union body, do to back up, enforce, however you want to say it, their statement? I’m tired of symbolic statements.

  3. @Robert & Kathleen

    This is important as it means the European Commission has made it absolutely clear exactly what is expected of member states under two existing EU Directives that they are signed up to and bound by.

    Though the Commission has no competence to examine individual claims, member states must abide by the principles set out for them.

    In the case of Cyprus, the country who prompted the question for saying “We can not open a window to them and we cannot accept gay asylum‑seekers to come to Cyprus”, this is clearly a discriminatory policy as it’s blanket nature (ie. if you’re gay, the answer is no) takes no account of the individual’s particular circumstances. That is simply not allowed and they will now have to explain themselves before the Commission decides on any enforcement actions.

    It’s not perfect but it is progresss and, on a wider point, it’s worth remembering it’s the EU where many of our rights come from nowadays and that and amongst MEPs who get little credit, Sarah Ludford is a tireless and effective campaigner for LGBT people.

  4. If this legislation is ever enacted, expect massive increase in numbers of faux-gays.

  5. Sister Mary Clarence 11 Feb 2009, 8:19am

    I’m with Ivan on this on both the points that he makes. There may be clear cases where member states feel that there are peculiar circumstances that allow them to disregard the legislation, but they will have to endorse the general principle. It will be interesting to watch how often the UK attempts to do so.

    The recent case of the deportation back to Iraq of a gay man appears to use the argument that there are extenuating circumstances in that case – the guy committed a crime i.e. tried to stay illegally (well hey, perhaps fearing for his life if sent back) and did not originally mention his homosexuality (could have been all sorts of reasons for this, cultural, religious, even more so if he was assisted in filling his application in by someone else).

    However in the letter from the UK Border Force there is more of an implication that there IS an underlying policy:

    “Even if your client’s homosexuality were to be established it is viewed that it would be possible for your client to conduct such relationships in private on his return to Iraq,” the agency said in a letter to the man’s lawyers.

    “This would allow your client to express his sexuality, albeit in a more limited way than he could do elsewhere.”

    This suggests that had he been dressed head to toe in rubber looking like Daffyd out of Little Britain when he turned up for his interview he’d have still been sent home to ‘express himself in a more limited way’.

    The article doesn’t indicate on what grounds the EU are stating that there is an obligation on member states to grant asylum, but if in answer to an MEPs question, its unlikely to be incorrect information. This would therefore seem to indicate that there is now legislation that supersedes the 1951 Refugee Act that the UK courts have repeatedly chosen to interpret so harshly in disallowing homosexuality as grounds for refugee status.

    Whatever the exact circumstances there does seem to be a very large window of opportunity for the guy to lodge an appeal.

  6. I disagree with you on this one Rob, although immigration and asylum is a pretty “hysterical” topic for politicians in the uk right now, i don’t think any British Government would prioritise opting out of EU legislation on an issue like this, if there ever was any. Most of the hysteria about Immigration is related to radical Islam, and or large families of children competing for/taking school places. Any British government would probably look more favourably at ay asylum seekers as they are unlikely to be Jihadis r to have many children requiring benefits/school places. They are the perfect immigrants!

  7. Robert, ex-pat Brit 11 Feb 2009, 1:49pm

    Andy, Ivan, I hear you. My gut feeling is that the UK will probably continue to what its already doing, expelling the majority of gay refugees back to their homeland. The notion that one can be discreetly gay in an oppression-ridden society doesn’t quite hack it for me personally. Why should anyone have to live that way as British gays did prior to 1967? What if those who are banished are eventually tortured or killed, or both for just being who they are? Are we not complicit along with every other country for returning genuine gay refugees? Why would anyone pretend to be gay as a means of gaining asylum knowing that in most cases, they would be returned to face certain punishment, retaliation or even death? Makes no sense.

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