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16th Sep 2019

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Czech sexuality tests not legal, EU commission says

  • Phallometry is a controversial practice (Photo: Cult Gigolo)

The practice by Czech authorities of checking via 'phallometric tests' if an asylum seeker is really homosexual and thus a potential victim in his home country is not in line with EU asylum laws and fundamental rights, EU home affairs chief Cecilia Malmstrom has said.

"The practice of phallometric tests constitutes a strong interference with the person's private life and human dignity. This kind of degrading treatment should not be accepted in the European Union, nor elsewhere," Malmstrom said Tuesday (17 May).

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"Equal rights have been the guiding principle for my political commitment and I have the firm intention to make sure that member states comply with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights when they implement EU legislation relevant to asylum and immigration," she stressed.

Her services also sent a letter to Czech authorities announcing they would open a formal investigation into the practice of "phallometric tests" for those refugees who claim to be persecuted for their homosexuality at home.

The sinister practice, involving rubber rings or tubes measuring the blood circulation in a man's penis when shown heterosexual or homosexual pornographic materials, was developed in the early years of Communist Czechoslovakia when homosexual interaction was a criminal offence.

"The commission considers that the use of phallometric tests (...) constitutes degrading treatment [which] is humiliating, and creates feelings of fear, anguish and inferiority," the letter sent to the Czech authorities reads.

The Czech Republic has already been flagged up by the EU's fundamental rights agency based in Vienna (FRA) in a report last year.

"Phallometric testing is difficult to reconcile with existing human rights standards," the report notes, giving details about an Iranian man who was granted asylum in Germany after he appealed his transfer to the Czech Republic, where he was supposed to undergo this test.

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Authorities in EU countries can no longer impose controversial psychological tests to determine whether an aslyum seeker is telling the truth about their homosexuality.

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