The High Court has rejected an appeal by a gay man from Georgia to have his application for refugee status recognised.
The man who is in his twenties has been living in Ireland since 2017. He initially filed an unsuccessful application for protection with the International Protection Office (IPO), which denied him both refugee status and subsidiary international protection.
He subsequently brought an appeal to the Protection Appeals Tribunal which upheld the IPO’s decision last year.
He brought the most recent application to the High Court for judicial review against the Tribunal, Ireland and the Attorney General on the grounds that certain findings regarding the Tribunal review “were irrational”.
Mr Justice Anthony Barr dismissed the case on the grounds that the challenge had been taken 50 days outside of the legal time permitted for such claims. He recognised that this was due to the man’s legal counsel and was through no fault of his own.
"…dismissed the man’s action after holding that he had brought his challenge outside of the legal time limits allowed."
1. Ireland doesn't provide legal aid for asylum seekers to challenge refusals in court
— MASI – Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (@masi_asylum) April 5, 2022
However, he also identified that the man was “bound by the actions of his agent” and that there had been insufficient detail pertaining to the reason for the delay. As such he was unwilling to grant an extension to the application.
In his ruling, he also found that due to contradictory accounts about relationships, work and education, the plaintiff’s credibility and the legitimacy of his claim were in question.
Justice Barr also upheld the IPO’s assertion that Georgia did not constitute a threat of persecution, inhumane treatment or punishment on grounds of sexuality. Therefore there were no reliable grounds to support the man’s claims fearing persecution.
Although homosexuality has been decriminalised in Georgia since 2000 and the country has enacted legislation to protect from discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, a 2021 report identified it as one of the most homophobic countries in Europe. According to the survey, 84% of the Georgian respondents believed that sexual relations between two adults of the same sex are always wrong.
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