Greece: Piraeus Administrative Court of Appeal ruling on imputed sexual orientation

Date: 
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

On 12 June 2019, the Piraeus Administrative Court of Appeal delivered its judgment annulling the decision of the Independent Appeals Authority to refuse international protection status to a Ghanaian applicant on the grounds of sexual orientation.  
 
The applicant entered Greece via Turkey in February 2017 as an unaccompanied minor. In his application for international protection, he submitted that he cannot return to his country of origin because he was accused of promoting homosexuality by members of a local group. According to his account, he had been forced to have relationships with men in order to raise money for the hospital fees of his grandmother. The leader of that group circulated a video with the applicant’s photograph publicly calling for him to be killed.
 
The Lesvos Regional Asylum Office (RAO) found the asylum application to be unfounded and rejected his application. On appeal, the Committee upheld the RAO’s decision finding that the claim of persecution on sexual orientation grounds had not been substantiated. Subsidiary protection status was also ruled out as the Committee considered that the applicant’s submissions did not establish a real risk of serious harm in Ghana either. The applicant challenged this decision before the Piraeus Administrative Court of Appeal claiming that the Committee had failed to address his danger of persecution on account of sexual orientation imputed on him by the local group.
 
The Piraeus Court agreed with the applicant and found that the Committee did not examine the possibility that imputed sexual orientation may be sufficient to establish well-founded fear on its own and provide the basis for recognition of refugee status. According to the Court, the Committee should have assessed that claim even if the applicant did not identify as LGBTQ. The contested decision was annulled and the re-assessment of the international protection application was ordered.
 
The case was supported by HIAS Greece. Many thanks to Vassilis Kerassiotis, lawyer and Country Director for HIAS Greece, for providing us with the text of the decisionThank you to Stavros Papageorgopoulos, Legal Officer at ECRE, for assisting us with the summary. Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU team.

 

Photo: (CC) National Assembly for Wales, March 2005 / Flickr

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. 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.

 

 

 
Keywords: 
Refugee Status
Sexual orientation
Well-founded fear