Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

Europe

Persecuted gays have grounds for asylum in EU

© Photo: AFP

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2013-11-08

Laws that discriminate against homosexuals can constitute grounds for granting asylum, but only in “serious” cases of persecution, the European Union’s top court has ruled in relation to a Dutch case involving three African men.

The European Union’s highest court on Thursday said laws discriminating against gays can constitute grounds for granting asylum in relation to a case involving three Africans seeking refugee status in the Netherlands.

The three men – from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal – had told Dutch authorities they feared persecution for their sexual orientation if they returned to their home countries. In view of their demand, the Netherlands’ Council of State turned to the European Court of Justice for guidance.

While the EU court said a person’s sexual orientation mattered in evaluating asylum requests, it also said that the “mere existence of legislation criminalising homosexual acts” in certain countries did not necessarily constitute “serious” persecution of homosexuals, or guarantee a favourable response for asylum seekers.

“The ruling is generally positive,” Neela Ghoshal, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher in Africa, told FRANCE 24. “It makes clear that sexual orientation is an integral, fundamental part of a person’s identity and hiding your sexual identity in order to avoid persecution in your country is not an option.”

Not far enough?

However, the ruling did not go as far as some people in Africa would have liked, Ghoshal added. “The decision doesn’t say that the mere existence of [discriminatory] laws can allow anyone from those countries to have refugee status,” she noted.

According to HRW’s Ghoshal, the decision will make life better for a small number of LGBT Africans who have faced difficult circumstances and fled to Europe, but it will not have a huge impact on the continent.

“Most LGBT people in Africa are not seeking to leave their countries,” she said. “This decision doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be jumping on the next plane and trying to get to Europe, because the real battle is at home."

Like in many countries across Africa, homosexual acts are a criminal offence in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal, and may lead to serious punishment, including life imprisonment and heavy fines.

“A large number of very strong local activist groups are trying to improve life on the ground. For many people, fleeing to Europe is not their first choice,” said Ghoshal.

Date created : 2013-11-08

  • ALGERIA

    Being gay in Algeria: ‘I’ll never live with the one I love’

    Read more

  • SERBIA

    Serbia bans Gay Pride for third consecutive year

    Read more

  • HAITI

    Gay couple attacked during engagement ceremony in Haiti

    Read more

COMMENT(S)