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Saturday, 31 October 2009

Asylum seekers discussed at ILGA-Europe annual conference

Source: ILGA-Europe

Asylum seekers workshop at ILGA-Europe annual conference, Malta, 31 October 2009

Description of the workshop:
The EU legislation on asylum defines minimum standards that explicitly include the possibility of granting protection in case of persecution on the ground of sexual orientation. The studies carried out by LGBT organisations show that the implementation by Member States is far from satisfying. In the coming years a “Common European Asylum System” will be establish. It is time to look at the best possible interpretation of the existing directive, looking for harmonisation in the light of best practices.

Presentations from the workshop can be retrieved below.

Presenters:
Joël le Deroff, ILGA-Europe’s Policy Officer, Søren Laursen, LBL (Denmark), S. Chelvan, ALEGRI (UK) & Yahia ZAIDI (Abu Nawas, Algeria)

Main issues discussed:
  • Presentation on how asylum decisions are taken in Denmark – highlighting the fact that in many cases LGBT applications are rejected in the first stages\In most countries the definition of a refugee is the convention one in 1951 – is it still valid?
  • LGBT is considered as a basis for refugee claim in the convention. New EU legislation includes sexual orientation as a ground for persecution – however still not enough.
  • Sexual identity is more than just sexual conduct.

Main outcomes:
  • LGBT asylum seekers are not getting the help they need. Most of the times it’s a matter of whether officer/agent believes your experience. How to tell if a person is really LGBT?
  • We need to obtain insight into decisions from other European countries – Good practice.
  • Belgium asylum seekers assisted by local social workers. Need to be taken into consideration that LGBT asylum seekers might find presence of their communities in the same open centre.
  • According to the UNHCR Guidance Note on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, if the state forces people to be discreet, that’s a violation of human rights. Everyone has a right to an identity.
  • In reality when society is against you, that is a form of persecution. Discrimination leads to persecution.

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