Czech pornographic 'phallometric testing' for gay asylum seekers condemned

Published: December 5, 2010

A new report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights titled ‘Homophobia, transphobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity’ has condemned the use by the Czech Republic of ‘phallometric testing’ during the asylum procedure. This practice tests the physical reaction to heterosexual pornographic material of those who file a claim for asylum on the basis of their homosexual orientation.

The Agency says that it believes the practice could be in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibits torture and human or degrading treatment, and of Article 8, (respect of one’s private life), “since this procedure touches upon ‘a most intimate part of an individual’s private life’”.
The Agency also considers this practice to be particularly inappropriate for asylum seekers, since “many of them might have suffered abuse due to their sexual orientation and are thus specifically constrained by this kind of exposure”.

The FRA recommends relying on UNHCR’s Guidance Note on Refugee Claims relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, which says that “self-identification as LGBT should be taken as an indication of the individual’s sexual orientation”, and that any doubt should benefit the asylum seeker.

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