Belgium - Belgian Council for Alien Law Litigation assess fear of persecution on grounds of homosexuality in Senegal

Monday, February 9, 2015

In a case which was sent back to the CALL by the Council of State for a new assessment of the initial appeal, the CALL has decided that the reasons behind the CGRS’ initial rejection of an asylum application were too subjective and did little to displace the applicant’s general credibility and legitimate fears of persecution. 
The facts relate to a Senegalese national who claimed persecution if returned to Senegal on account of his homosexuality. Notwithstanding that the CGRS accepted the homosexuality of the applicant, the claim was refused as the Commissioner did not believe that the applicant faced persecution in Senegal and thus doubted any fear of persecution if returned.

In response to the CGRS’ submission that the applicant’s behaviour in public with his partner on one occasion did not mirror the behaviour of someone who feared persecution, the CALL noted that the alleged persecution had to be analysed in light of the applicant’s homosexuality and the fragile situation of homosexuals in Senegal. Highlighting that the CGRS had not taken into account the applicant’s membership of a religious brotherhood, an element enhancing the fear of persecution, the CALL advanced that the applicant indeed faces a serious risk of persecution on account of his homosexuality and that protection provided by the authorities would not be guaranteed on his return. The CALL thus surmised that the benefit of the doubt should be accorded to the applicant. In this regard the CALL went on to note that where doubt exists as to the facts or sincerity of the applicant, this does not preclude from an assessment of whether a fear of persecution actually exists, which could be established by non-contentious facts.

As a consequence the CALL concludes that on the evidence submitted the applicant, if returned, would face renewed persecution and thus has a well-founded fear of persecution, entitling him to refugee status.

Based on an unofficial ELENA translation.

The ELENA Weekly Legal Update would like to thank Cécile Ghymers for notifying us of this decision. 

9 February 2015

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.



Burden of proof
Country of origin information
Credibility assessment
Refugee Status
Sexual orientation
Standard of proof