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Germany declares three countries that criminalize gay sex to be ‘safe’ for gay asylum seekers

Germany declares three countries that criminalize gay sex to be ‘safe’ for gay asylum seekers

Two gay men were jailed for three months in Ivory Coast

Germany has declared three homophobic North African countries to be safe, making it nearly impossible to claim asylum when fleeing from them.

The government announced today (13 May) they would, from now on, consider the so-called Maghreb states of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco to be safe countries of origin.

‘Helping also means being able to say no,’ Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thomas de Maziere, told BILD.

Under German federal law, this means asylum seekers from these countries will see their applications rejected as ‘manifestly unfounded’ unless they produce facts or evidence proving they face persecution in their home country.

‘For a state to be declared a safe country of origin, there has to be nationwide safety from political persecution for all citizens and demographic groups,’ a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court states.

Homosexuality is illegal in all three countries and can be punished with prison sentences of up to three years. In Morocco, anyone found guilty also faces a fine of 120($18.25) – 1200 dirham ($124.38).

In Algeria, the maximum sentence is two years also a fine of 500 ($4.56) – 2000 dinars ($18.25), but it increases to three years in prison and a fine of 10,000 dinars ($91.28) if one of the partners is under 18.

The government’s decision was met with protests from both the opposition as well as LGBTI organizations.

Volker Beck, part of the Green Party’s faction in the Bundestag and openly gay himself, published a statement on Facebook – signed by himself and other members of his party – condemning the decision and declaring they would not be voting in favor of the change.

‘Consensual same-sex actions come with the threat of high prison sentences,’ the statement reads.

‘Lesbians, gay men, bi, trans and intersex people are exposed to discrimination and violence in their everyday lives, without being able to rely on protection from the authorities.

Germany’s biggest LGBTI organization, the Lesben- und Schwulenverband Deutschland (LSVD) called the government’s new stance a ‘human rights-related declaration of bankruptcy’ and called upon the Bundesrat (upper house) to stop the law.

‘Whoever declares Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia to be safe countries of origin vindicates frequent human rights violations,’ said Henne Engels, the organization’s spokesperson.

‘[In doing so] they complicit with people falling victim to political persecution, incarceration and abuse just because they love differently. ‘

The LSVD also accused the government of being cynical after they advised LGBTIs in those countries to ‘lie low’.

‘Just two days ago, Minister of Justice Maas announced he’d present a proposed law outlining the rehabilitation of those charged under $175, rightly calling the former persecution of homosexuals “disgraceful deeds of the constitutional state”,’ Engels said.

‘Today, the black-red coalition (Conserative-Labour coalition government) issues the disgraceful deeds of the persecution of homosexuals in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia a certificate of non-objection.’

It’s partly influenced by what has become known as the Cologne attacks, where a group of 50 men – the majority allegedly from North Africa – sexually assaulted women in and around Cologne main station during the New Year celebrations.