Austria has rejected the asylum claim of an Iraqi who claimed he could not return home because he is gay, saying he acted too “girlish” in his assessment interview, reports said Thursday.
The case follows that of an Afghan asylum-seeker whose claim to be gay was rejected because he did not “act or dress” like a homosexual.
Rights group Amnesty International said earlier this week that it saw a “structural problem” in how Austria assessed asylum claims. An Interior Ministry spokesman rejected this on Thursday.
In the most recent case to be made public, authorities in Styria state found that the Iraqi could not be believed because the 27-year-old displayed a “stereotypical, in any case excessive ‘girlish’ behavior (expressions, gestures),” which seemed fake, the Kurier daily reported.
The man, reportedly an active member of Austria’s gay community, can appeal the decision. Austrian LGBT rights groups working with the man could not immediately be reached.
"Pretending to be gay or lesbian to increase one’s odds in the asylum process is relatively rare…. It’s more common for LGBT refugees to continue to hide their sexual identities and to lie about the reasons for seeking asylum," according to some experts. https://t.co/Naef4EqKgh
— Physicians for Human Rights (@P4HR) August 21, 2018
Amnesty has slammed Austria’s assessment of asylum claims as “dubious,” adding people in the central European country, which currently holds the E.U.’s rotating presidency, should be able to count on “professional and fair procedures”.
“The inhuman language in asylum claims does not conform with the requirements of a fair, rule-of-law procedure,” it said in a statement Tuesday.
Interior Ministry spokesman Christoph Poelzl rejected the accusations, saying that all officials who assess asylum claims receive training.
An official in Lower Austria state, who rejected an 18-year-old Afghan’s claims that he was gay, is now no longer involved in assessing asylum applications, Poelzl added.
“The way you walk, act or dress does not show even in the slightest that you could be homosexual,” the official had written in his assessment, according to the Falter weekly newspaper.
The publication listed similar cases, including that of an Afghan whose rejection said that “it would be questionable that the Taliban would have been interested in a stuttering, well-fed boy who had not given the impression of being able to become a good fighter.”