LGBTQ asylum-seekers in Europe subjected to stereotyping and humiliation, rights group says

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11/29/2018

Navid Jafartash fled Iran in 2014 because he feared for his life: He is gay, and homosexuality is illegal in Iran and in some cases punishable by death. He went to Vienna, where he spent several years and had established a life for himself until his asylum-seeking journey hit a roadblock this year. Jafartash had his asylum application rejected in June after he failed to explain to Austrian officials the meaning of the rainbow pride flag’s six colors. Austria, as a European Union member, offers asylum to those who can prove that their sexual orientation would put them in danger if forced to return to their country of origin, like Iran or Afghanistan, that persecutes LGBTQ people. A number of human rights activists, academics and lawmakers say that asylum decisions in Europe — a beacon for many fleeing countries where persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity is common — are often based on discriminatory or ignorant attitudes, and that there is a need to redesign a system that tends to ignore the lived realities of LGBTQ asylum-seekers and makes the process unnecessarily isolating and dangerous.

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