Chelvan gave evidence to the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on 20th October 2011.
At the invitation of the Committee, Chelvan’s intervention concentrated on the gaps in the current and proposed EU Qualification, Procedure and Reception Directives with respect to LGBTI asylum seekers in Europe. The day covered issues surrounding a Common Asylum Policy for the European Union post-2012 with experts from around Europe providing evidence on the multitude of demands individual Member States face when determining refugee status. Chelvan’s session focussed on the needs of Vulnerable Persons: Special Needs as applied to sexual and gender identity asylum claims, highlighting the differences between Member States on issues ranging from self-identification, gaps in the country evidence, concealment and violence in accommodation centres.
Chelvan commented, “I was extremely honoured (and daunted) at being invited to address the Parliament. Barristers today not only can influence litigation, but can also contribute to policy development at both a national and international level. I look forward to contributing to the future debate.”
Women’s Asylum News has also this week published an article by Chelvan on how asylum claims by lesbians are being determined in the UK: How does a lesbian come out at 13?)
“Decision-makers need to engage with the following four common concepts of difference, stigma, shame and harm (‘DSSH’) which lie at the core of the narratives of the majority of LGBTI asylum claims. Without such engagement asylum seekers will continue to be invisible, resulting in fear and ignorance”.