Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said people should not be forced to hide their sexual identity to avoid punishment | Photo: Markus Schreiber/AP/picture-alliance
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said people should not be forced to hide their sexual identity to avoid punishment | Photo: Markus Schreiber/AP/picture-alliance

Germany will now consider queer refugees at risk of persecution in their home countries, whether or not they openly live with their identity and orientation.

Germany will implement new rules beginning Saturday for processing asylum applications from LGBTQ persons, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said.

Faeser said Friday she wanted to better protect queer refugees and that no one should "feel forced to lead a dangerous double life."

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees is instructed to consider queer people at equal risk in their country of origin whether or not they openly express their gender identity and sexual orientation. 

How Germany decides on granting asylums to queer refugees

Sven Lehmann, the federal government's commissioner for the acceptance of sexual and gender diversity, said Friday that persecution on the basis of "sexual orientation and gender identity is a recognized ground for asylum."

Until now, Germany granted asylums to queer refugees fleeing persecution, where it defined persecution as people being threatened with violence, death, imprisonment or other types of inhumane treatment due to their sexual identity, according to Germany's official website for queer refugees.

The nature of the frequency of the acts of persecution or discrimination must be so extreme that they constitute a violation of human rights, the website said.

The fact that homosexuality is punishable by law does not in itself constitute an act of persecution, the website added.

A two-step process will determine whether queer refugees will be granted asylum, Faeser said. 

Faeser is the head of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, which covers a range of tasks, including people's integration into society and civil protection and security. 

Author: Roshni Majumdar

First published: October 1, 2022

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