Queer? Prove it. Should the EU create a framework for the credibility assessment of asylum claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity?

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Gould, Alice
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The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) aspires towards consistency in the process of asylum applications and acceptance throughout the EU. However, multiple reports have found incongruent results and methods that are not compatible with international legal standards. One of the predominate issues that these results originate from revolves around how to credibly assess a person‟s sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI). It has been acknowledged that to protect the institution of asylum there may need to be a method to assess whether an asylum seeker‟s claim is credible, rather than relying solely on selfidentification. However, it has been repeatedly reported that stereotyping and problematic practices occur during the asylum process within the EU. Whilst the CJEU has set limits as to what authorities can do to assess credibility, there is no affirmative instruction from the EU on how to credibly assess claims. The main research question of this thesis considers whether the EU should create a common framework for SOGI based asylum claims and how would this be implemented? This paper will recommend that a standardised methodology is appropriate and that the EU should implement such a framework through the work of the EASO, through implementing guidelines and training, which will be both mandatory and explicitly referenced. In order to do this this thesis will reflect on the main issues when assessing the credibility of SOGI and what a proposed EU framework do to mitigate these issues. Extrapolating from these problematic components the essay will then analyse barrister and specialist in queer asylum law S Chelvan‟s Difference, Stigma, Shame, Harm (DSSH) model as a possible model of credibility assessment while offering critique to consider the full range of identities that fit within SOGI and without a gendered bias. Finally, this thesis will go on to consider the proposed changes to the CEAS and the role of the European Asylum Support Office, and what that role could be in supporting a framework for SOGI credibility assessment.
Second semester University: Université Libre de Bruxelles
European Union, asylum, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender discrimination