According to the European Court of Justice, as reported by Time World Online, gay persons who face imprisonment for being gay in their home countries may have grounds to seek asylum in the European Union. Citing sexual orientation as a “characteristic fundamental to a person’s identity,” the EU Court held that laws imprisoning homosexuals may constitute “an act of persecution per se.”
It is unclear what effect, if any, this ruling will have on countries with laws criminalizing homosexuality. However, it is being hailed by gay rights groups and others as a major step forward for the EU.
Currently, dozens of countries – mostly in the Middle East and Africa – have such laws on the books or are considering them. Below is a world map, courtesy of Erasing 76 Crimes Blog, with dark shaded countries representing those with anti-homosexuality laws:
- Fear of imprisonment for being gay in African countries is grounds for asylum, EU court rules (independent.co.uk)
- Gay Africans Are Entitled To Asylum In The EU (unilaglss.wordpress.com)
- Gay African refugees eligible for EU asylum: court (smh.com.au)
- EU court: Homosexuality can be grounds for asylum (miamiherald.typepad.com)