whats known and unknown

European Court: Gay Refugees May Have Grounds for Asylum

on November 8, 2013


The European Union’s top court ruled Thursday that refugees who face imprisonment for being gay in their home countries might have cause for E.U. asylum.

Sexual orientation is a “characteristic fundamental to a person’s identity,” the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice found, and laws that imprison homosexuals “may constitute an act of persecution per se” if they are routinely enforced.

Dozens of countries around the world — many of them in Africa and the Middle East — have laws that criminalize people based on their sexual identity. It’s unclear how authorities will be able to prove a refugee’s claim of being homosexual; the same court isn’t expected to rule on that issue this year.


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