Hojem, Petter. “Fleeing for Love – Asylum Seekers and Sexual Orientation in Scandinavia.” Switzerland: UNHCR, 2009.

  • Category: Legislation
  • Source: UNHCR,Academic
  • Subject: Asylum/Refugee,Documentation status,Homosexuality,Law/Legistation,UNHCR,Sexual Orientation
  • Place: Africa
  • Year: 2009
  • File: 4b18e2f19.pdf
In this review we will look more closely at the three Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway and Sweden. All three receive a substantial number of asylum claims each year and all three are known for their relatively liberal policies towards sexual minorities. However, a liberal policy towards homosexuals does not equate a liberal policy towards homosexual asylum seekers. Asylum rights for those persecuted because of their sexual orientation do not exist in a vacuum, but are embedded in the country’s larger asylum policy and practice. Bearing that in mind, this review will focus on two main areas: Firstly, it will look at the legal basis for persons to seek asylum on grounds of sexual orientation in the Scandinavian countries. This will cover international jurisdiction as well as national legislation and actual legal practice. Secondly, the review will address the asylum procedure, including what information asylum seekers are given upon arrival, the interview situation, accommodation at reception centres and possibilities of getting adequate and appropriate legal advice. Both parts will take as a point of departure UNHCR guidelines and recommendations, and subsequently compare these with national laws, regulations and practice. This review covers those persons seeking asylum on grounds of sexual orientation. “Sexual orientation” refers to a person’s capacity for profound emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different gender or the same gender, or more than one gender. In most cases the asylum-seeker claims to be oriented towards the same, and sometimes both, genders, and to be persecuted because of this fact. Heterosexual persons may also seek asylum on grounds of sexual orientation if they are believed to have a different sexuality (e.g. homosexual) and are therefore persecuted because of their perceived orientation.