Another asylum-seeker in Austria has had his application rejected over doubts about his sexual orientation. A process rights group has called the decision "dubious" and indicative of structural problems processing asylum claims.
Local media have reported an homosexual Iraqi migrant saw his application for asylum in Austria rejected because he acted too ‘girlish’ in his assessment interview. The young man had told the officials in Austria's Styria state that he could not return to his native Iraq as he was gay. The officials decided the 27-year-old's claims about his sexual orientation could not be believed because he displayed a ‘stereotypical, in any case excessive 'girlish' behavior (expressions, gestures), which seemed fake, Austria's Kurier newspaper reported. Anna Szut of Homosexuelle Initiative in Vienna told Die Welt, said it is ‘common knowledge that the entire asylum procedure including the BFA (Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum)-officials is highly discriminatory, not only on terms of sexual orientation.’ The case comes just days after a young Afghan was denied asylum in the country because he did not ‘act’ or ‘dress’ like a homosexual.
Rights group Amnesty International states it sees a ‘structural problem’ in how Austria assesses asylum claims, describing the country's asylum processes as ‘dubious.’ Amnesty's Martina Powell said, ‘we demand from the responsible ministry, the Ministry of the Interior, a better quality control for asylum procedures in a timely manner. This includes that issued decisions must be evaluated regularly and, if necessary, revoked by the authority itself.’ She added, ‘civil servants and translators must receive ongoing training in dealing with people in particular need of protection,’ and ‘a multi-eye principle must be strictly adhered to in order to minimize the risk of wrong decisions.’ Interior Ministry spokesman Christoph Poelzl has rejected Amnesty's accusations, saying that all officials who assess asylum claims receive training. However, he noted the official involved in the Afghan asylum-seeker's case was no longer involved in assessing asylum applications.