December 23, 2014

Gay Afghan man granted asylum over persecution risk

By Mirwais Adeel - Thu Jan 31 2013, 10:52 am

Afghan GayAccording to reports a gay Afghan man has been granted asylum by refugee appeals board of Denmark considering the persecution risk his sexuality poses in Afghanistan.

The man’s judge said it was a precedent-setting judgement which was taken this week and provides asylum for the homosexual asylum seekers.

Lawyer Kåre Traberg Smidt quoted by Politiken newspaper said, “People normally have to demonstrate they are being persecuted in their home country in order to be granted asylum. They needed to be able to show they had actually experienced problems.”

Flygtningenævnet also ruled that the man would face a high risk of persecution if he reruns home and there was enough grounds to argue for granting him asylum despite that the man did not experience any persecution due to his sexuality.

He also said to to reconsider all asylum cases that are first rejected by the Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen), except those that are considered ‘manifestly unfounded’.

This comes as the board earlier emphasized that individuals must have actually faced persecution in order to qualify for asylum and it was not enough to earn asylum by belonging to a persecuted group only.

In the meantime an official in Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Eva Singer said Flygtningenævnet is starting to shift its perspective by taking such a decision.

Meanwhile an Afghan man was granted asylum last September after he converted from Islam to Christianity in Denmark and according to Flygtningenævnet the man would face persecution if he returned to Afghanistan, where people who abandon Islam are considered ‘apostates’ and may face the death penalty.

Considering the basic human right the board emphasized that man could practice Christianity in private but will not be allowed it practice openly.

But Singer quoted by The Copenhagen Post said, “The verdict supports the view that individuals may be persecuted because of their background, in this case that the man is a homosexual, which is so tied into his personality that it is too hard to hide.”

However Singer said the particularly high risk to homosexuals in Afghanistan played an important role in the appeals board’s decision and individuals from lower-risk countries may not necessarily be so lucky.

Many countries around the world persecute homosexuals. The Ugandan parliament has been attempting to pass laws that would subject homosexuals to the death penalty. In Russia, new laws outlawing “homosexual propaganda” were recently passed which essentially outlaw homosexuals from kissing in public.

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