Current Affairs

European Court senior advisor: Everyone has the right to define their own sexuality during asylum claims

Joseph McCormick July 22, 2014
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The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union, has issued an opinion on how asylum authorities should treat cases in which they attempt to verify the sexual orientation of an asylum seeker.

Advocate General Sharpston said people have the right to define their own sexual orientation, and that statements made by asylum claimants on their own sexuality should form the beginning of credibility assessment.

She went on to say that nothing should be asked of any claimant which would undermine their human dignity or personal integrity.

In particular, the Advocate general states that the use of medical tests to “assess” a person’s sexual orientation constitutes a violation of the fundamental rights of any asylum seeker.

She specifically refers to the method of phallometry, which was previously carried out in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The method measures the reaction to pornographic material.

Other medical and psychological examinations were also condemned by the Advocate General.

As well as tests and examinations, she establishes that intrusive questioning on sexual experiences, or requirements to share photographs and films of sexual practices, as well as assessments based on stereotypes are all contrary to EU law.

Gabi Calleja, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said: “We welcome this opinion and hope that the Court will follow the opinion to strengthen the laws and practices in the EU on working with LGB asylum seekers. The Opinion is clear that the human dignity and personal integrity of an asylum seeker during the process of verification of their sexual orientation is paramount and central in this process. What we need now is clear guidelines for all EU Member States which helps asylum authorities on how to act with respect and dignity in such cases.”

Related topics: asylum, EU, Europe, Europe, European Court of Justice

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