Position:European Union Court of Justice - Brief article

Homosexual applicants for asylum can constitute "a particular social group," whose members may be persecuted on account of their sexual orientation specifically if they are being threatened with a prison term in their country of origin. So said the EU Court of Justice, which ruled in the case of three nationals from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal seeking refugee status in the Netherlands (Cases C-199/12, C-200/12 and C-201/12). The advocate-general of the court had taken the same view.

The cases were examined under Directive 2004/83/EC stating minimum standards to obtain the status of refugee in the EU. The directive in fact refers to the Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees.

The Dutch Raad van State (Council of State), which is hearing the cases at final instance, asked the ECJ whether third-country nationals who are homosexuals may be regarded as forming a "particular social group" within the meaning of the directive. In other words, an at-risk population, in the same meaning as asylum seekers persecuted for...

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