Friday, 1 October 2010

Asylum project update from ILGA-Europe

Conference of Community and European Affairs C...Image via Wikipedia
By Joël Le Déroff

It is now one month since the summer break is over, and it is time for ILGA-Europe to update you all on our on-going activities the right to asylum and LGBT asylum seekers. Here are the most recent points.

1. Advocacy for an improved EU legislation: between optimism and pessimism?

ILGA-Europe is still hoping that the on-going recasting process of the EU asylum legislation will bring some interesting changes. We continued our advocacy strategy, with a first meeting with the Asylum Unit of the European Commission. However, the European Parliament is now the institution in charge of giving the next step, with the adoption of its first reading reports on the Qualification and Procedures Directives.

The Parliament’s Committee in charge of the file (LIBE) has had exchanges earlier this week on the ground of a working documents produced by the rapporteurs. The rapporteur of the Qualification Directive, Jean Lambert MEP, wrote in her working document that the Committee should seriously pay attention to whether the text under discussion “fully reflects the gender dimension or, indeed, the issue of gender identity”. This is indeed one of the issues where some progresses considered possible. Jean Lambert then included good amendments in her first draft report (see recital 29 and article 10): PE448.996.

However, before they are adopted, these new directives would need to be approved by the Council (the Member States). Unfortunately, France and Germany have issued a position paper in September, to say they did not favour new legislative steps in the establishment of the so-called “Common European Asylum System”. Hard negotiations are to be expected after the Parliament’s vote.

2. ILGA-Europe conference coming soon

For those of you who are planning to attend ILGA-Europe’s conference in The Hague, please note that we’ll have one workshop dedicated to “LGBT asylum seekers in Europe: improving decision-making standards”. Speakers from ORAM international, COC Netherlands and the Swedish Migration Board will discuss the challenges in terms of improving decision making processes and the LGBT skills of adjudicators / case owners within national asylum authorities.

3. VU University Amsterdam / COC Netherlands project

One of the presenters of the above mentioned workshop, Ms Sabine Jansen from COC Netherlands, is the coordinator of a project funded by the European Refugees Fund (ERF), which has just started: “Fleeing Homophobia!”. As she will explain at the conference, the project is a research aiming at identifying good practices and at putting together a set or recommendations for policy makers in the area of asylum. It will also describe the problems faced by LGBT asylum seekers in all EU countries.

We do expect a lot of the outcomes, which will probably provide inspiring ideas to ILGA-Europe’s members and partners when addressing asylum-related concerns in their national context.

COC Netherlands and the VU University organised a first meeting earlier this week, which has been an opportunity to work on the definition of the research’s areas that will then be explored by country experts in all EU Member States.

Jean Lambert MEP - EU, LGBT and asylum

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