Russia

Read about LGBTI asylum in Russia here...

Russia is a party to the Geneva Convention of 1951 and the Protocol of 1967. On paper, Russia’s asylum law permits refugees to seek asylum from persecution based on their membership in a particular social group.
Despite this legal protection, there has been significant criticism from observers that Russia’s asylum system is inadequate. The U.S. State Department noted a litany of concerns in its recent human rights report : the Federal Migration Service is not present at border points, so applicants have to rely on border guards to be sympathetic or face deportation; asylum officials do not demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the laws they administer; and officials will turn away people in the country legally, saying they do not need asylum, and then refuse to accept applications from illegal immigrants as well. In addition, the U.S. Committee for Refugees notes that Russia has not always respected the prohibition against refoulement and has returned applicants to home countries where they faced a credible threat of torture. On the other hand, the UNHCR has stated that Russia’s asylum regime is strengthening and improving .
The situation for LGBT individuals in the Russian Federation is not good. Many Russian LGBT individuals have sought asylum to avoid the persecution they face in Russia .

Find more LGBTI country information on Russia in our Country-by-Country section

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General on asylum in a non-EU member state

Refugee law is governed internationally by the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the “Geneva Convention”) and the 1967 Protocol (the “Protocol”) which extended the previously limited scope of the convention. The text of the Convention defines a refugee as a person who

owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reason of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country .

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has stated unequivocally that LGBT individuals may fall under the Convention’s definition of “refugee” when fleeing unpunished abuse and discrimination or a country where homosexuality is criminalized. Criminal laws may be per se persecution, or may only rise to persecution when applied discriminatorily or when it imposes severe penalties, including the death penalty. The absence of laws criminalizing homosexuality is also not to be considered per se evidence that there is no persecution in the country of origin.

In addition to the global law of the Convention, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has called on its members to consider persecution based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity as valid reasons for seeking asylum under the terms of the Convention.

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