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EU: Being gay is grounds for asylum

EU: Being gay is grounds for asylum

The European Union’s top court has ruled being gay is grounds for asylum.

LGBTI people from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal fearing imprisonment in their home country will have grounds for asylum in any of the 28 EU member states.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice ruled existence of laws imprisoning gay people ‘may constitute an act of persecution’.

A gay person cannot be expected to conceal their sexual orientation to avoid persecution, since it would amount to ‘renouncing a characteristic fundamental to a person’s identity’.

The European Court ruled on the cases of three people from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal seeking asylum in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Council of State had asked whether homosexuals could be considered as a ‘particular social group’ and whether criminalization and imprisonment was actually ‘persecution’.

While the ECJ said laws targeting LGBTI people makes them a separate group, it is up to the national authorities ‘whether, in the applicant’s country of origin, the term of imprisonment…is applied in practice’.

The mere existence of a ban on homosexuality is not grounds in itself for approving an asylum request, the ECJ ruled.