Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum (SOGICA) project publishes Queering Asylum in Europe
New two-volume book on sexual orientation and gender identity asylum claims in Europe available as free download
07 September 2021
The University of Sussex's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum (SOGICA) project last week announced the publication of its new two-volume book on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) asylum claims in Europe.
The 457-page publication, Queering Asylum in Europe: Legal and Social Experiences of Seeking International Protection on grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, is available to purchase here and it is also available as a free PDF download here.
"In these volumes we explore the legal and social experiences of those people who fee persecution in their home countries and somehow manage to travel to Europe, where they eventually present asylum claims relating to their SOGI. These claims are commonly perceived by judges, practitioners and academics alike as being particularly problematic. This is due to a mixture of factors, including the increasing number and awareness of such claims, the perceived unfairness in the adjudication of these claims, and the heavily politicised decision-making environment, with some evidence pointing to a disproportionately high rate of refusals on these grounds. These claims also raise particular issues in relation to different aspects of asylum adjudication, especially the intense social prejudice against these claimants in their country of origin, the role of legislation – namely criminalisation – in the country of origin in endorsing that prejudice, the assessment of credibility, the lack of possibility of internal relocation, and the role of private actors in persecution. Finally, these claimants face particular psycho-social challenges in terms of personal identity and community integration in the host state. SOGI asylum claims are thus of a striking complexity and significance for the purposes of assessing the efficiency and fairness of an asylum adjudication system. Importantly, SOGI claimants experience much suffering, as our participants have told us. Ali (UK), for example, asked himself 'why am I humiliating myself, why am I doing this to myself', and Lutfor (UK) told us that 'when I was in the asylum system, I felt it was like I came from another hell to this hell'.
"These volumes deliver a much needed European comparative study of SOGI-based asylum claims, thereby contributing to improvements in the standards of law, decision and policy-making. So far, comparative works have for the most part concentrated on discrete matters in two or three countries, or attempted to compare a larger number of countries but being unable to offer a theoretically and empirically-informed in-depth treatment of the subject-matter. We combine the best of both approaches, by drawing from insights from a range of countries, as well as offering a theoretically and empirically-informed in-depth analysis of the subject-matter in a selection of key countries in this field. Such comparative approach addresses the urgent need to tackle the lack of reliable data that is currently perpetuating misunderstandings about the plight of SOGI asylum claimants and, in turn, perpetuating discriminatory and exclusionary treatment. Simultaneously, we aim to test whether the racialised, gendered, classist, heteronormative and homonormative legal and social experiences that SOGI asylum claimants undergo in other jurisdictions also take place in Europe. In doing so, we hope to re-politicise, de-criminalise and re-historicise the actions of SOGI asylum claimants escaping persecution and seeking international protection."
The book includes research on both SOGI asylum claimants and SOGI-based asylum claims, and it endeavours to place the experiences of individuals claiming asylum at its centre.