New EU law on asylum procedures
ILGA-Europe's reaction: welcomed progress, but more improvements are needed.
Since 2008, the European Union has been revisiting its Directives and Regulations on asylum. On 12 June 2013, this process came to an end with the adoption by the European Parliament of recast versions of the EU asylum Procedure and Reception Conditions Directives, as well as of the Dublin III regulation.
This process of revision was beneficial. In 2011, the recast asylum Qualification Directive had already made it clear that persecutions on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity are explicitly recognised as legitimate ground for claiming asylum. To ensure that these provisions are really implemented, the recast Procedure and Reception Conditions Directives include a number of new improvements:
- An obligation on EU Members States to adequately train the personnel of asylum authorities and in particular to ensure that asylum interviewers are competent on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity;
- Member State have an obligation to take separate decisions not to disclose an applicant’ sexual orientation or gender identity, even where the initial applications were introduced on his/her behalf by another applicant of whom he/she is a dependent, and the applications are initially based on the same grounds;
- Recognition that some people claiming asylum because of persecutions based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity may be in need of special procedural guarantees, and EU Member State are obliged to identify such needs and ensure those asylum seekers benefit from the Directive provisions. This also applies in case such needs become apparent at a later stage of asylum procedures;
- Obligation on EU member States to prevent assault and gender-based violence in reception/accommodation centres.
ILGA-Europe is pleased it has achieved one of its aims and now persecutions for reasons related to sexual orientation or gender identity are clearly recognised by EU law. At the same time, the provisions of the new Directives are not always explicit enough. In particular, ILGA-Europe believes that the provisions dealing with special procedural guarantees, special reception needs and the obligation to prevent violence in accommodation centres would have had higher chances of being fully implemented by Member States if they had included more explicit references to sexual orientation and gender identity.
ILGA-Europe now will be fully engaged in monitoring and ensuring that all parts and provisions of the Directives are fully and precisely incorporated into national law of EU Member States. ILGA-Europe will also monitor whether asylum authorities provide comprehensive and explicit training to their staff and whether they develop proper systems of data collection to mainstream sexual orientation and gender identity issues in the Country of Origin Information (COI) they make use of.
ILGA-Europe hopes to work more extensively with the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) to mobilise and coordinate this work across the EU and will be offering its expertise and help in drafting and implementation of national laws and practices.
More information about our work on asylum issues: