Τετάρτη, 23 Μαρτίου 2016

"Pleiades" Press Release: Alert on LGBTI asylum seekers' rights and refugee women

The Hellenic Action for Human Rights - "Pleiades" warns once again on the detrimental effect recent EU Policies, such as the proposal of the Commission to member states, to "establishing a common list of safe countries of origin, which would make it easier to send back asylum seekers coming from these countries, which would include all Balkan states and Turkey.", and is gravely concerned about the fact that in that the newly adopted "EU-Turkey agreement", no provision whatsoever is made on vulnerable groups, such as lgbti asylum seekers.
We note that, although it is compatible with refugee international protection standards to recognize as "prima facie" refugees large segments of the displaced population, based on their nationality (coming from war and internal conflict), since it may be practically impossible to proceed to the simultaneous registration of their asylum claims and their individualized examination, the opposite cannot take place without seriously breaching international law: one can never tell who is a refugee and who is not, based on the country of origin of the person requesting asylum.
This characteristically applies to the lgbti refugees, who often come from countries characterized as generally safe, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco, Algeria a.o. but nevertheless treat lgbti persons with severe breaches of human dignity, prosecution, criminal sanctions coming up to life sentence and capital punishment - execution.
Moreover, as long as Turkey punishes homosexuality as a criminal offense, it can by no means be considered a "safe third country" or a "1st country of asylum" for LGBTI persons.
In late February, we had alerted about these concerns the SOGI department of the Council of Europe, and the LGBTI Intergroup of the European Parliament.

In contravention, we STRONGLY WELCOME that the European Parliament recognized, a few days ago, what is more than obvious: that the LGBTI persons "may be subjected to abuse, even in countries which are considered ‘safe’".  concluding that "they have a legitimate request for protection".  We also welcome the adoption, by the European Parliament, of the "report on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU, paying particular attention to the situation of LGBTI asylum seekers."

The European Parliament also stressed the gender protection approach, which, if implemented, would be particularly valuable for alleviating the hardship women refugees and trans persons face during their journey, during scanning and reception, during the asylum claim examination and alsoconcerning integration in the country of asylum.
Therefore

  • We stronlgly welcome the EP's stance and invite the European Union's mechanisms to synchronize their understanding and commitment to the protection of  LGBTI persons and women seeking asylum.
  • We welcome the adoption, on 10 March 2016, by the EP, of the "Report on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU"initiated by EP's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. We would like to underline its importance for women and transgender persons. 
  • We invite civil society to join forces and run an urgent and intense campaign against the misconception of asylum legislation and needs, leading to the adoption of policies and procedures "pre-judging" protection needs based on the "country-of-origin criterion".
  • We strongly condemn the EU-Turkey agreement, which seems to be ignorant of EU member/states international obligations towards international protection seeking persons.


The Hellenic Action for Human Rights - "Pleiades" (NGO)


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