Asylum claims for persecution for sexual orientation have consistently increased in Spain, according to UNHCR, although the Ministry does not distinguish them for reasons
Miguel Edu was about to get what he had always wanted. He had a good job, a social position and, finally, he had just met his mother, whom he had not seen for more than two decades. But one night was enough to destroy a whole life: he had not taken into account that in his country, Equatorial Guinea, society does not tolerate homosexuality. When his mother found him in bed with his boyfriend, he threw them out naked and began to beat them. «The neighbors, the whole neighborhood hit us,» says this 33-year-old boy with calm gestures. «It was as if a car had passed me over,» he emphasizes. A local television tape recorded the scene and the news ran like gunpowder. Miguel went away for a month abroad to calm the waters. It did not help: when he returned he was kicked out of work and beaten so brutally that he ended up in the hospital. He then decided to leave the country in a hurry and running. After passing through Cameroon it flew until Spain, where it requested asylum. Her boyfriend, Éric, could not follow him; He committed suicide with a cocktail of medicines.
Miguel is not the only member of the LGBT group (lesbians, gays, transgender, bisexual and intersexual) to have applied for protection in Spain. Although there is no official data – the Ministry of the Interior does not break down asylum claims on the grounds – the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and organizations working with asylum seekers confirm that applications for persecution for sexual orientation Have increased steadily in recent years. A source from the UNHCR protection unit says that requests from citizens of the Gambia, Cameroon, Morocco, Algeria and, more recently, Venezuela and Central America are also coming.
«Spain was always an open country in this sense … the first case that was recognized by sexual orientation was before the entry into force of the 2009 law [which introduces as a reason to request international protection the persecution by identity and Sexual orientation], «recalls the same UNHCR source. «It could be said that it is a pioneer country, but there are still ‘quality’ issues related to the asylum procedure that need to be addressed, affecting all groups and even more to the LGTBI.»
Being a foreigner, asylum seeker, and belonging to the LGTBI collective is not easy, not even in a country like Spain, considered the most gay-friendly in the world according to the Pew Research Center. «It has come to deny protection to Moroccan applicants saying they could return to their country and be discreet, hide their homosexuality,» recalls from the State Federation LGTB (Felgtb). Although the organizations say that there has been progress, they also insist that there are still obstacles along the way, from lack of tools to episodes of lgtphobia in reception centers or the application of stereotyped categories by the same officials when evaluating The plaintiffs’ accounts.
Although the Court of Justice of the EU put a limit, in 2014, on interviews that violate the applicant’s privacy – and try to «find out» what their sexual practices are -, no protocol was set with specific guidelines to follow. Last week, We registered in the Congress the integral bill elaborated by the Felgtb and directed to guarantee the rights of the collective, including the asylum claimants. The text requires those concerned to enjoy a «security and supportive environment … so that they can fully and fearlessly collaborate with the administration», and calls for adequate training of staff members on the needs The collective and the situation in their countries of origin.
A coherent account
Germán (fictitious name) comes from Venezuela, a country where homosexuality is not illegal and there is much more LGTBI activism than in Africa. «But there it is also not accepted and never will be,» argues the young man, who arrived in Spain last year after a fight, which he defined as «the beating of his life», ended in a vortex of threats towards him and his family. With his voice half broken, he tells how a group of men attacked him, his partner and a friend at the exit of a discotheque. «They stole my cell phone and started calling … they got to know where I lived and in the building of my house they painted some graffiti saying ‘Germán, fagot, we’re going to kill you.» He managed to report even though the police initially refused to collect his statement. But the intimidation had no prospect of ceasing. He then decided to change telephone and city numbers. «The first week was all good, but then the calls came back,» he says. «They thought they were going to get rid of us? We’ve already found out where they live,» they said.