Germany's so-called "behavioural prognosis" when assessing LGBTQ+ asylum procedures is to be scrapped. "Only in this way can LGBTQ+ refugees realize their right to live in safety -- as discreetly or openly as they themselves want," advocates say.
The German government wants to better protect queer asylum seekers who fear persecution in their home countries because of their sexual orientation, media agencies reported Wednesday (September 21), citing Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
BAMF is in the process of implementing new criteria for asylum decisions for queer people, which are to apply from October, AFP reported. The new regulation affects lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex refugees.
Notably, the government's so-called "behavioural prognosis" is to be scrapped. In Germany's current asylum procedure, affected asylum seekers must demonstrate that they are also being persecuted in their home country because of their sexuality. BAMF then checks how an applicant would "behave" in their home country and puts forth its prognosis.
"The decision on the risk of return is to be based on the assumption that the applicant will openly live out their sexual orientation and/or gender identity upon return to the home country," the instruction states. The federal government now wants to clarify that queer protection seekers may in no case be referred to a "discreet life in the country of origin."
Sexual identity should be 'as discreetly or openly as they want'
According to the directive, those affected should in future be able to receive protection on the basis of their sexual orientation, regardless of whether they "openly live out" this orientation in their country of origin or are more "discreet" about it.
"No prognosis may be made as to how important the applicant's sexual orientation and/or gender identity is and whether the corresponding way of life is an indispensable part of the applicant's personal identity," the submission from the interior ministry stated.
When deciding on a possible return of the protection seekers, Germany must now examine "how authorities or other actors are likely to react" to the returned person if they were to live out their sexuality openly.
The Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD) welcomed the decision. The association had repeatedly criticized asylum decisions of the BAMF, particularly the "behavioral prognosis," as an "inhumane" practice towards LGBTQ+ protection seekers.
"Only in this way can LGBTQ+ refugees realize their right to live in safety -- as discreetly or openly as they themselves want," it said in a statement.
With AFP and KNA