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Gay Afghan refugee granted asylum in Denmark

The case sets a precedent for other gay asylum seekers, lawyer says

Gay Afghan refugee granted asylum in Denmark

The refugee appeals board in Denmark has set a precedent by granting asylum to a gay man from Afghanistan because he is at risk of persecution if he returns home.

‘People normally have to demonstrate they are being persecuted in their home country in order to be granted asylum,’ said the man’s lawyer, KÃ¥re Traberg Smidt, The Copenhagen Post reports.

Smidt said the case sets a precedent for gay asylum seekers in Denmark who face persecution in their home countries due to their sexuality. He added that the ruling may make it easier for Guatemalan transgender woman Fernanda Milan, who was saved from deportation last September, to be granted asylum in Denmark.

The Afghan asylum seeker in this case did not have previous experience of persecution at home due to his sexuality, but the refugee appeals board said there was enough evidence that he could be targeted if he returned to Afghanistan.

In the past the board has argued that refugees can hide their sexuality or religion if it puts them at risk of ill-treatment in their home country. This case suggests they are changing their views.

‘The verdict supports the view that individuals may be persecuted because of their background,’ Eva Singer from the Danish Refugee Council said to The Copenhagen Post, ‘in this case that the man is a homosexual, which is so tied to his personality that it is too hard to hide’.

When asked if she thought refugees would pretend to be gay to be granted asylum, Singer said:

‘A person’s sexuality is such a big part of their personality, I don’t think that people will take lightly claiming that they are homosexual.’  


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