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Monday, 6 September 2010

Summer update on LGBT asylum issues in the European institutions

EU symbol 1 2Image via Wikipedia By Joël Le Déroff, ILGA-Europe

ILGA-Europe, the European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, has been active this summer to raise the issue of LGBT-related asylum claims in the European institutions. In the context of the on-going reform of EU law, we promoted various initiatives and meetings.

In the autumn, two directives are going to be discussed in the European Parliament (first reading), which is an important step, since the Parliament has become a full co-legislator after the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty.

Just before the beginning of the parliamentary holidays, ILGA-Europe has organised an exchange in the European Parliament, with the support of the Intergroup on LGBT rights and MEPs Sylvie Guillaume, rapporteur on the Procedures for Granting and Withdrawing International Protection Directive (“Procedure Directive”) and Jean Lambert, rapporteur on the Qualification for International Protection Directive (“Qualification Directive”).

The exchange was an opportunity to present our positions to various MEPs working on the asylum directives, and to make sure that potential supporters coming from different political groups could better coordinate themselves when the Parliament resumes its works. ILGA-Europe invited the coordinator of the gender and sexual orientation team of Belgium’s Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRA), Ms valentine Audate, to give a presentation. This proved to be very useful to illustrate the problems faced by LGBT asylum seekers during the whole asylum procedure.

In early September, ILGA-Europe has also met with Commission’s officials, to assess their availability to listen to our positions, in view of the preparation of the following steps of the legislative process. These exchanges were also an opportunity to promote some amendments to the EU legislation. For more information on the EU legislative process, please contact Joël Le Déroff: joel@ilga-europe.org.  

On a different note, following the conference on “LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees: a case of double jeopardy?”, organised in London in July, ILGA-Europe has joined the organisers to participate to the redaction of a Declaration of Human Rights for LGBTI Asylum Seekers, which will include a call for change in asylum systems in Europe and in the world.

Finally, thanks to research carried out earlier this summer, ILGA-Europe will publish soon an improved resource section on our website. Information will be available on asylum legislation in European countries, and on how to better look for and find country-of-origin information.

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