The NXF (National LGBT Federation) have released a statement in regards to a decision made by the Department of Justice in relation to whether the bisexuality of an asylum seeker was “credible”.
It was reported that the man, who described coming to Ireland out of fear of persecution for his sexuality in Nigeria, had his appeal for asylum rejected by the High Court due to an overlong delay in bringing said appeal to court. However, the High Court took issue with the Department of Justice saying the man’s sexuality was not credible as he would not have engaged in same-sex activity in Nigeria if local laws and customs would have forbid it.
The original findings from the Department of Justice read, “It simply is not credible that a young man having been raised in…a restrictive environment would engage in behaviour both unacceptable and outlawed in the society in which he lives”. The High Court response read, “Such a conclusion, with respect, does not follow.”
Speaking on the Department of Justice’s ruling in the case of the asylum seeker, a spokesperson for the NXF stated that it “shares the serious concerns this case has given rise to in the LGBTQ+ community. We are especially alarmed and quite frankly appalled at comments attributed to an IPO (International Protection Officer) which appear to claim that homophobic laws and customs somehow makes same-sex relations implausible.
“To be clear: LGBTQ+ people exist and give expression to their innate sexual and gender identities in every corner of the globe. The existence of legal and cultural oppression only succeeds in fuelling stigma and making LGBTQ+ people fear for their safety.”
What is plausible – and explicitly recognised in the 1996 Irish Refugee Act – is the right to seek international protection from anti-LGBT persecution.
That includes state sanctioned persecution such as criminalising people for giving expression to their innate identity.#LGBT
— NXF (@nxfie) February 1, 2021
The spokesperson continued, “It is precisely because of such oppression that LGBTQ+ people seek international protection – a fact explicitly recognised in the 1996 Irish Refugee Act. It is that duty to provide sanctuary to those fleeing state sanctioned anti-LGBTQ+ persecution that decision makers in countries such as Ireland should first-and-foremost be cognisant of. It is also unacceptable, by the way, to expect LGBTQ+ asylum-seekers to ‘hide’ their innate identities in order to avoid persecution in their homelands.”
The High Court report further read that, although the question of the man’s sexuality was not the focus of the application they were judging on, “given the just mentioned aspects of Mr X’s case, the State is at risk of falling short, in this case, of attaining that general moral ideal which it recognises in, and seeks to attain through, its asylum regime, for if the Minister is wrong and Mr X is bisexual, he is set to be deported to a country where LGBTI+ people are treated badly and suffer greatly.”
The spokesperson for the NXF concluded that they “intend raising our concerns at a political and governmental level and seeking necessary assurances.”
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