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EU court bars tests to ‘prove’ sexuality of gay asylum seekers

Tom Halford January 25, 2018

(REMKO DE WAAL/AFP/Getty Images)

The European Union’s top court has ruled that psychological tests to determine a person’s sexuality should not be used for asylum claims.

Controversial, so-called ‘gay tests’ have been used on people fleeing countries where it is illegal to be homosexual to assess asylum claims.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling is binding in all 28 EU states.

(JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The case which prompted the ruling was brought by a Nigerian man who submitted an asylum application in Hungary in April 2015.

Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, and punishable by death in certain areas of the country.

His request was refused after a psychological test in which he was pressured to draw a picture of a person in the rain and participate in a Rorschach ink-blot test failed to confirm his homosexuality.

Due to this new ruling, a court in Szeged, Hungary, will now reconsider his claim.

The ECJ stated in the new ruling that “certain forms of expert reports may prove useful,” but said that these reports infringed on a person’s privacy.

The judge said that authorities must determine the reliability of the claims, but without these tests.

According to the EU Agency for Fundamental rights, hundreds of homosexuals who fear persecution in Chechnya, Africa and the Middle East have sought asylum in Europe.

In 2013, the ECJ ruled that applications would be accepted if the person’s home country imprisoned people for homosexuality.

But the year after, the executive director of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group criticised the home office system, saying it was still “extremely unfair” for LGBT asylum seekers.

Earlier this month, PinkNews reported that refugees from Chechnya were too traumatised by the horrors in their country to tell immigration officers they were gay, leading to a risk of them being sent back.

Last month, it was revealed that a gay Ugandan woman attempted suicide twice after the UK’s Home Office refused her asylum application.

In October last year, Prime Minister Theresa May was challenged over deportation of LGBT asylum seekers.

Out MP Joanna Cherry raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions, off the back of the Prime Minister’s landmark appearance at the PinkNews Awards, where she declared that “LGBT rights are human rights”.

An activist stands naked, wrapped in a rainbow flag, in a mock cage in front of the Chancellery in Berlin on April 30, 2017, during a demonstration calling on Russian President to put an end to the persecution of gay men in Chechnya.  The protestors called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will meet Putin in Sochi on May 2, 2017, to raise the issue with him. / AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL        (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

Cherry said: “We can all agree that no one should ever be persecuted on account of their sexuality.

“Last week at the PinkNews Awards, the Prime Minister said we have come a long way on LGBT rights, but there’s still much more to do.

“Can I ask her to start that work today by promising that never again will the Home Office deport LGBT Asylum Seekers to countries where they are likely to be persecuted with the instruction that they pretend to be straight?”

The Prime Minister did not provide a direct assurance in her response.

In August, a Nigerian LGBT activist won her 13-year battle to be granted UK asylum.

More: asylum seekers, EU, Europe, Europe, Gay, Hungary, LGBT, Uganda

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