Sexual Orientation Tests Violate Refugees’ Human Rights, EU Court of Justice Says
Authorities subjected a gay Nigerian refugee to psychological tests to confirm his sexuality.
In the last decade, the number of people fleeing their home countries due to persecution of the sexual orientation has risen, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
And many of these people, often from African countries and the Middle East, seek safety in the European Union. But in most EU member states, the guidelines around how to process these asylum seekers claims are weak, according to the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, and in some cases asylum applicants have been subjected to degrading tests.
But the EU Court of Justice ruled on Thursday that asylum seekers should not be subjected to invasive psychological tests to determine their sexual orientation.
The court said that psychological tests intended to confirm the sexual orientation of people seeking asylum on the grounds of persecution due to their sexuality are "a disproportionate interference in the private life of the asylum seeker."
In 2015, Hungarian immigration authorities administered such tests to a gay Nigerian man seeking asylum, NPR reported.
After subjecting the man to psychological tests — including the Rorschach inkblot and Szondi tests, which claim to reveal subconscious thoughts or impulses — the psychologist was unable to confirm his sexual orientation, and he was denied asylum, according to NPR.
Homosexuality and same-sex marriage are criminalized in Nigeria, punishable by stoning in some parts of the country, according to Human Rights Watch. And even people who operate, attend, or support “gay clubs, societies, and organizations” can be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.
While the court did say it’s within the right of authorities to seek expert opinions to assess “the facts and circumstances relating to the declared sexual orientation of an applicant” seeking asylum for persecution of their sexuality, it emphasized that all efforts to do so must respect the fundamental rights of the asylum seeker.
Homosexuality is not criminalized in Hungary, which recognizes civil unions, but not same-sex marriages, according to the Pew Research Center. However, in recent years, Hungary has crackdown on the rights of refugees and migrants, inviting international criticism, Amnesty International reported.
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