London, 16 December 2014
On 2 December 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a preliminary ruling in the joined cases A, B, C v Staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie, providing guidance on the application of Article 4 of Directive 2004/83 in claims for asylum based on the sexual orientation of the applicants. The Court stated that Article 4 of the Directive, which sets out the conditions for the assessment of facts relating to an asylum claim, must be interpreted in compliance with the applicants’ rights to respect for human dignity and respect for family and private life (Articles 1 and 7 respectively of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union). Accordingly, the Court ruled, Article 4 precluded methods of assessment which are based only on stereotyped notions associated with homosexuals or include detailed questioning related to the sexual practices of the individual. The Court’s decision is to be welcomed, although the Equal Rights Trust is disappointed that the Court did not preclude all reliance on stereotypes in the assessment of asylum applications based on sexual orientation.