Tag Archives: Europe

Italy News | Black African Migrants

Far-right extremist injures six in racist shooting rampage in central Italy
  • The shooter reportedly drove around the city of Macerata for two hours shooting at black people, leaving six nationals of Nigeria, Ghana, the Gambia, and Mali injured (one seriously) in his wake.
  • Now booked on charges of attempted murder with the aggravating circumstance of racial hatred, the man had collected Nazi and other white-supremacist paraphernalia and had ties to a number of neo-fascist political parties.
  • The incident came amid increased tensions following the arrest of a Nigerian migrant in connection with the suspected homicide and dismemberment of an Italian teenager.
Read

Italian man held after driving through city shooting at black people” (Reuters | February 2018)

Italy shooting: Mein Kampf found in home of suspect” (The Associated Pressvia The Guardian | February 2018)

Macerata gunman had extreme right-wing background” (Euronews | February 2018)

Switzerland Research | Black

Countering Racism in Switzerland

Following an uptick in reports of prejudice, harassment, and discrimination over the last decade, several Swiss federal agencies and civil organizations have undertaken research to outline the prevalence and dimensions of racism, discrimination, and racial prejudice in the country, focusing on the ways in which cultural, political, and administrative practices marginalize people of color and exclude them from conceptions of Swiss national identity. Anti-black racism has emerged as a phenomenon of particular concern, ranging from everyday prejudice and harassment to discrimination in housing, employment, policing, and access to public accommodations and services. The continuing growth of Switzerland’s Afro-descendant population—having doubled over the last decade to some 100,000 people—has made countering racism a priority in the integration of new generations of residents, and experts have begun issuing recommendations including increased service provision, media representation, anti-profiling measures, and data collection.

Study

Recommandations sur le thème du racisme anti-Noirs en Suisse (Federal Commission Against Racismin French | December 2017)

Incidents racistes recensés par les centres de conseil (Federal Commission Against Racismin French | April 2017)

Rapports sur la discrimination raciale en Suisse (Federal Department of Home Affairs, in French | 2012-2016)

Read

Racism in Switzerland: ‘People of colour are automatically perceived as foreigners’” (The Local | January 2018)

 

Citations | LGBTQ+ Asylum-seekers

Citations
Asylum Claims and the Adjudication of Sexual Identity

In immigration systems around the world, credibility stands as the primary burden of proof and identity indicator for sexual and gender minorities fleeing persecution in their countries of origin. In determining who assesses credibility and how, however, precision has long eluded researchers, lawmakers, and adjudicators as fluidity and multiplicity in identity has come to define sexual- and gender-minority communities. The reliance on expert assessments and interviewer perceptions in legal and administrative decisions has proven problematic from both a scientific and human rights perspective. Testing often involves a combination of physiological and psychological measurement, from arousal responses to personality assessments, and interviews have been based on a range of cultural biases and unrealistic expectations.

Immigration laws across nations have variously granted or denied asylum based on behavior, identity, affiliation, or perception, and the lack of standardization has created a large degree of uncertainty for LGBT individuals fleeing unsafe conditions in their countries of origin. This Citations installment outlines the patchwork of domestic and international laws and guidelines framing the consideration of asylum claims by sexual and gender minorities in popular destination countries, region- and country-specific legal and administrative processes, and recent trends in the assessment of sexual and gender identity and asylum claims.


Global

The U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (also known as the 1951 Refugee Convention) established guidelines determining the status of an individual as a refugee, defined as “someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” The “membership of a particular social group” item has become the cornerstone of the expansion of asylum rights to LGBT individuals fleeing persecution, and international organizations have undertaken efforts to outline frameworks for ascertaining such membership.

European Union

In a victory for LGBT asylum-seekers in Europe, the E.U. Court of Justice recently ruled against Hungarian immigration officials’ decision to deny a gay Nigerian’s asylum claim as the result of a sexuality assessment test. In its ruling, the ECJ determined that while such psychological assessments are not prohibited, the results cannot factor into asylum decisions when testing methodology contravenes any of the human rights outlined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The decision comes as the culmination of a series of rulings related to the assessment of sexual identity in asylum decisions in member states amid historic levels of trans-Mediterranean migration.

United States

Since 1994, the U.S. has recognized sexual identity as grounds for granting asylum in the country. The political and legal recognition of LGBT asylum-seekers has co-evolved with that of LGBT citizens, with asylum decision-making processes having liberalized alongside greater scientific research into sexual orientation and expanding legal rights and protections for LGBT citizens. Today, LGBT asylum-seekers submit an application that includes documentation corroborating both individual circumstances as well as the conditions LGBT individuals face in their country of origin and are then selected to participate in an interview with the Department of Homeland Security. With no government data kept regarding the outcome of claims based on sexual orientation, however, transparency and accountability have emerged as central issues for advocates and watchdogs seeking to promote security and rigor in adjudication.

Australia

While Australia has recognized sexual orientation as part of the 1951 Convention’s designation of “membership of a particular social group,” the country has faced significant criticism for its asylum process for LGBT petitioners, which has included low approval rates and offshore detention that has further imperiled asylum-seekers. When asylum-seekers have gone before the Refugee and Migration Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in a final attempt to secure asylum, they have faced arbitrary, invasive, stereotypical, and culturally ignorant lines of questioning and expectations by interviewers and offered private photos and texts by asylum-seekers in desperation to “confirm” their sexual identity.

Canada

As immigration and refugee acceptance have become political hot topics in Europe, the U.S., and Australia, Canada has sought to position itself as a beacon of acceptance for individuals fleeing to the Global North to escape war or persecution. LGBT individuals petitioning for asylum enjoy higher-than-average approval rates in the country, but advocates have noted that Canada’s adjudication process has historically suffered from the same cultural biases and pitfalls in credibility assessment as other popular destination countries. Tight claim deadlines and multiple points of inquiry introduce further precarity in the process, but advocates are hopeful that a new set of guidelines issued in 2017 will improve the adjudication process. 

South Africa

A popular destination for LGBT Africans seeking refuge outside of their countries of origin, South Africa positioned itself as an early global leader in the establishment of LGBT legal rights and protections. Though the most progressive African nation in this respect, the country has nevertheless been criticized for the legal process through which it puts LGBT asylum-seekers, including reliance on temporary permits to defer long-term status provision and intimidation and credibility issues in the interview process.

 

Iceland News | Women

Gender pay parity law comes into effect in Iceland
  • Companies and public agencies with at least 25 employees will be required to obtain government certification of equal-pay practices or face fines.
  • Iceland became the first country to mandate pay equality by legislation in 2017, with the law now in effect with the arrival of the new year.
  • Since 2006, Iceland has closed 10% of its pay gap—one of the fastest improvement rates in the world—and pledged to eradicate it by 2020.
Read

In Iceland, it’s now illegal to pay men more than women” (Al Jazeera | January 2018)

Iceland first nation to make pay equality a legal requirement” (The New Zealand Herald | January 2018)

Iceland set to tackle gender pay gap with world’s toughest law” (BBC News | March 2017)

Study

The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 (World Economic Forum)

France News | Muslim Men

French hospital dismisses Egyptian trainee doctor from program for beard
  • The administrative court of appeals ruled in favor of the hospital after the surgery trainee sued as the result of termination by hospital managers at a Saint-Denis hospital for failing to trim his beard.
  • The trainee’s lawyer argued that the termination was discriminatory as a similarly long beard worn by someone who wasn’t Egyptian and named “Mohamed” would likely not have been asked to prove it was not of religious orientation.
  • French law dictates that religious expression is forbidden in state institutions like public hospitals, including personal symbolic displays that could be construed as religiously motivated.
Read

Un médecin renvoyé pour une barbe trop longue, la justice donne raison à l’hôpital” (Agence France-Presse, via Libération | December 2017 – in French)

‘C’est une décision complètement discriminatoire’ : un médecin stagiaire renvoyé à cause d’une barbe trop longue” (franceinfo | December 2017 – in French)

French hospital rejects trainee doctor due to ‘religious’ beard” (The Telegraph | January 2018)

 

France News | People of Color

Discussions of systemic racism in France provoke backlash
  • Recent rows in French government and civil society have pitted anti-racism activists against government officials over discussions of the state and other political institutions’ role in propagating racial inequality.
  • Journalist Rokhaya Diallo was removed from France’s national digital council only a week after her appointment following a campaign by right-wing activists and officials that targeted her for, among other things, her discussions of “institutional racism.”
  • The same use of the term by the teachers union SUD-Education 93 led Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer to indicate he will pursue complaints against the organization as well as for having hosted workshops reserved for people of color.
Read

French race row erupts as feminist forced off advisory body” (The Guardian | December 2017)

Blanquer porte plainte contre un syndicat qui a utilisé l’expression «racisme d’Etat»” (Le Monde | November 2017, in French)

Les ateliers « en non-mixité raciale » du syndicat SUD-Education 93 créent une polémique” (Le Monde | November 2017, in French)

Additional

When will France admit that police racism is systemic?” (The Guardian | March 2017)

 

Austria News | Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual

Austria’s highest court recognizes same-sex marriage rights
  • The Constitutional Court of Austria ruled that the country’s law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
  • The law in question, introduced in 2009, allowed for registered partnerships but not full marriage for same-sex couples, creating discriminatory sex-based classes of partnership.
  • The decision paves the way for same-sex couples in Austria to begin marrying in 2019, becoming the 16th European country to recognize same-sex marriage rights.
Read

Austria’s supreme court paves way for same-sex marriage from 2019” (Reuters | December 2017)

Austrian Supreme Court rules in favour of same-sex marriage” (BBC News | December 2017)

Austrian court rules same-sex couples can marry from 2019” (CNN | December 2017)