The Court of Justice of the European Union handed down the judgment on 7th November 2013 in C-199/12, C-200/12, C-201/12 – X, Y, Z v Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel.  The case concerns three gay asylum seekers from Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda.  The Court held that all  EU Member States who have ratified the 2004 Qualification Directive have a duty to consider the facts in the country of origin,  in determining the extent to which criminal laws are applied.  Criminal laws which prohibit consensual same-sex conduct, is evidence itself that gay and lesbian refugees come within the definition of a protected group, for the purposes of the Refugee Convention.  However, criminal laws which are  not enforced will not enable an individual to claim refugee status.

S. Chelvan of No5 Chambers was asked by BBC World Service Newshour to analyse the impact of the case on their program on the 7th November. Chelvan said, “there are approximately 10,000 gay or lesbian applicants who come to the European Union every year to seek sanctury ….the case presents a missed opportunity”.   The interview was also picked up by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on the 8th of November. Chelvan is instructed, on behalf of the interveners, in a case before the European Court of Human Rights, which seeks to have the guidance of the UK’s Supreme Court in HJ (Iran)  applied to all 47 Council of Europe member states.

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