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Universal-MigrationHRlaw-PG-no-6-Publications-PractitionersGuide-2014-eng

Universal-MigrationHRlaw-PG-no-6-Publications-PractitionersGuide-2014-eng

62 | PRACTITIONERS GUIDE

62 | PRACTITIONERS GUIDE No. 6Note on Refugee Claims Relating to Sexual Orientation andGender Identity. 86Discrimination, lack of protection or direct repression of peopleon grounds of their sexual orientation may amount to persecution,when this comes from the State or the State is unable orunwilling to protect against it. The fear of persecution may resultfrom criminal laws prohibiting, directly or indirectly, same-sexconsensual relationships. The law may be persecutory per sewhen it is not in conformity with international human rights standards.87 Penalisation may also be disguised through “targeted”prosecutions for other criminal offences. If the well-founded feararose sur place, for example because the concerned person has“come out” in the foreign country, that person might qualify forrefugee status if he or she can demonstrate a well-founded fearof future persecution in the country of origin. Furthermore, ifLGBT persons are consistently denied access to normally availableservices, such as education, welfare, health, court, etc., orif they feel forced to conceal their own orientation for fear ofreprisals, this may give rise to a reasonable fear of persecution.86 UNHCR Guidelines on International Protection no. 9: Claims to Refugee Status based on SexualOrientation and/or Gender Identity within the context of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Conventionand/or its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, UNHCR, UN Doc. HCR/GIP/12/09,23 October 2012 (UNHCR Guidelines on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity); and UNHCRGuidance on Refugee Claims Relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, UNHCR ProtectionPolicy and Legal Advice Section, Division of International Protection Services, 21 November2008 (UNHCR Guidance on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity).87 M.I. v. Sweden, CCPR, Communication No. 2149/2012, Views of 25 July 2013, para. 7.5: “theexistence of such law [criminalizing homosexual acts] by itself fosters the stigmatization ofLGTB-individuals and constitutes an obstacle to the investigation and sanction of acts of persecutionaginst these persons.” The Court of Justice of the European Union, however, took, a divergentposition, in relation to the granting of refugee status in X, Y and Z v. Minister voor Immigratieen Asiel, CJEU, C-199/12, C-200/12 and C-201/12, Judgment of 7 November 2013:“1. Article 10(1)(d) of Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards forthe qualification and status of third-country nationals or Stateless persons as refugees or aspersons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection grantedmust be interpreted as meaning that the existence of criminal laws, such as those at issue ineach of the cases in the main proceedings, which specifically target homosexuals, supportsthe finding that those persons must be regarded as forming a particular social group. 2. Article9(1) of Directive 2004/83, read together with Article 9(2)(c) thereof, must be interpretedas meaning that the criminalisation of homosexual acts per se does not constitute an act ofpersecution. However, a term of imprisonment which sanctions homosexual acts and which isactually applied in the country of origin which adopted such legislation must be regarded asbeing a punishment which is disproportionate or discriminatory and thus constitutes an act ofpersecution. 3. Article 10(1)(d) of Directive 2004/83, read together with Article 2(c) thereof,must be interpreted as meaning that only homosexual acts which are criminal in accordancewith the national law of the Member States are excluded from its scope. When assessing anapplication for refugee status, the competent authorities cannot reasonably expect, in orderto avoid the risk of persecution, the applicant for asylum to conceal his homosexuality in hiscountry of origin or to exercise reserve in the expression of his sexual orientation”, The InternationalCommission of Jurists and Amnesty International have criticized the ruling of theLuxembourg court. See, http://www.icj.org/eu-court-ruling-a-setback-for-refugees/.

MIGRATION AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW | 63It is important to stress that claims for asylum cannot be dismissedon the basis that the applicant could avoid persecutionby changing or concealing his or her sexual orientation or genderidentity.Convention Grounds. Asylum claims based on sexual orientationor gender identity are generally considered under the“membership of a particular social group” ground. 88 The sameclaims have also been found to be able to fall in certain circumstancesunder the grounds of “political opinion”, particularlyin countries where, for example, same sex relationshipsare viewed as contrary to the core of the country’s policy, and“religion” where the attitude of religious authorities towardsLGBT people is hostile or discriminatory or where being LGBTis seen as an affront to religious belief.b) Refugees’ rightsThe Geneva Refugee Convention guarantees a certain number of rights,which reflect human rights law protections, whose applicability differsaccording to the situation of the refugee in the territory, his or her legalpresence or recognition of refugee status. It is important to stress, aswill be seen throughout this Guide, that international human rights lawgrants protection of the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees widerthan that of the Geneva Refugee Convention. Furthermore, wheneverinternational human rights law affords wider protection, it should prevail,and the provisions of the Geneva Refugee Convention should beinterpreted in light of rights under international human rights law.The Convention recognises for all refugees present on the State’s territory,regardless of means of entry or status, the prohibition of non-discriminationon the basis of race, religion or country of origin in the applicationof the Convention (Article 3); the freedom to practice religionand freedom as regards the religious education of children equal to thataccorded to the State’s nationals (Article 4); the State obligation toissue an identity paper (Article 27); and the protection of the principleof non-refoulement (Article 33). To the same group of people apply theright to equal participation in rationing systems (Article 20), and theright to primary education (Article 22.1) on an equal basis with nationalsof the State; and property rights (Article 13) and the right to accesssecondary and tertiary education (Article 22.2) which are equated tothe level of protection afforded to non-nationals.88 See, UNHCR Guidance on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, op. cit., fn. 86,paras. 40–50; and UNHCR Guidance on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, op. cit.,fn. 86 para. 32.

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    ISBN 978-92-9037-151-X

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