Gay and lesbian asylum seekers must not be asked to prove they are homosexual in order to stay in Britain, following a judgement by a European court yesterday.
Asking refugees detailed questions about their sexual habits in order to establish whether they are at risk of persecution at home is a breach of their fundamental human right to a private life, the European Court of Justice ruled.
In a decision that may force the Home Office to tighten up its interview rules, the court ruled that immigration officials must not accept explicit photographs or videos submitted by asylum seekers to prove their sexuality.
Home Office guidelines say that asylum officials must not request such images, but material that is volunteered is examined as part of a claim and stored.
In a ruling that may have implications on British cases, the court said an asylum seeker’s failure to answer questions about their personal circumstances was not sufficient reason to reject their credibility.
Nor was an applicant’s failure to declare his homosexuality from the start grounds to reject a claim, the judges said.
In 2013 some 283 people claimed asylum in Britain on the grounds that they were at risk overseas because they are gay or lesbian. Many cases come from African states whether homosexuality is subject to the death penalty.