Sunday

24th Oct 2021

EU court bars tests for gay asylum seekers

  • Asylum seekers are often runnig for their lives, including LGBTI people (Photo: Agostino Loffredi/Oxfam)

Asylum seekers should not be subjected to psychological tests to determine whether they are homosexual, the EU's top court has ruled.

The European Court of Justice on Thursday (25 January) said that "recourse to a psychologist's expert report in order to determine the sexual orientation of the asylum seeker constitutes an interference with that person's right to respect for his private life".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The ruling means member states cannot legally impose the use of psychological reports and tests on asylum seekers. The court said such reports were "not essential" to determine the credibility of statements on sexual orientation.

The court said psychological reports were disproportionate to the objective.

"Such interference is particularly serious because it is intended to give an insight into the most intimate aspects of the asylum seeker's life," the court said in a statement.

The case concerned a Nigerian man, referred to only as 'F', who applied for asylum in Hungary in April 2015. He feared persecution in Nigeria for being gay.

Hungarian authorities used a Draw-A-Person-In-The-Rain, Rorschach and Szondi tests to determine F's credibility.

The ECJ said Hungarian officials had not found F's statements to be contradictory, yet had still concluded that F lacked credibility.

F's claim was therefore rejected after a psychologist's report failed to confirm his homosexuality.

Following the ECJ's ruling, a Hungarian court must now reassess his asylum claim.

"An important step against one of the many problems and humiliations LGBTI refugees still face in many EU member states," tweeted Kartin Hugendubel, advocacy director for ILGA, a worldwide organisation campaigning for LGBTI rights.

The Nigerian man in question was represented by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, an NGO focusing on human rights .

"This marks the end of the outdated and stigmatising psychological testing of asylum seekers," they said in a statement, pointing out that Hungary authorities' preferred method has been using the controversial psychological tests.

There are no official statistics on the number of asylum claims based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the Vienna-based Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) said in a report.

According to the report, NGOs in Europe say that asylum officers tend to have stereotypical views on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Only a few EU countries have specific national guidelines for interviewing LGBTI people during the asylum process.

EU asylum debate reopens old wounds

EU leaders discussed asylum reforms in an effort to reach a consensus by next June, but divisions remain wide as concept of 'solidarity' becomes ever more elusive.

Interview

Gay rights face backlash in Poland

Polish society is becoming more gay-friendly, but anti-gay activists are becoming more radical and the government is doing little to stop it, says gay right activist Agata Chaber.

Gay rights under threat in divided Europe

From same-sex marriage in Malta to horrors in Azerbaijan - survey shows huge disparities on gay rights in Europe, amid "stagnating" progress and populist threats.

EU commission to map gender recognition

The European Commission will start looking at how EU states determine genders - as part of an effort to make it easier for people to determine their own identities.

News in Brief

  1. Russia's anti-vax campaign backfired, EU says
  2. China angered as MEPs call for Taiwan talks
  3. Emissions from La Palma volcano reach Brussels
  4. Body of eighth victim of Belarus border-crisis found in river
  5. Report: Syrian bank fiddling currency to evade EU sanctions
  6. Nato adopts plan to counter new Russian threats
  7. Alleged killer of British MP 'felt affiliated' to IS
  8. Coronavirus: Belgium returns to 'red' zone

Opinion

The dangers of resurgent nationalism in Greece

Virulent nationalism in Greece has been stirred up in the context of austerity and renewed negotiations with Macedonia. Recent attempts by the government to address the inequalities suffered by LGBT persons have also been met with a reactionary backlash.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. EU states want more Belarus sanctions
  2. Gas price spike exposes rift at EU summit
  3. Poland vows not to give into EU 'blackmail' at summit
  4. EU vows to uphold Paris climate ambition amid scientists' fears
  5. Commissions's new migration pact still seeking 'landing zone'
  6. Europe can't ignore Chinese encroachment in Ukraine
  7. Lithuania - where 'biodiversity funding' is cutting down trees
  8. Dutch lawyers take Frontex to EU court over pushbacks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us