European Union recognizes persecuted LGBT Africans seeking asylum

Most African countries have anti-LGBT laws. Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya and Botswana, who are crucial Western allies, are among the African countries who have anti-LGBT laws. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) voted to give political asylum to LGBT people who are being persecuted and jailed for violating anti-LGBT laws in these African countries. According to the ruling it will be up to each European Union nation to decide if incarceration is "applied in practice" in the home country of the person seeking asylum.  Amnesty International reported that anti-LGBT attacks had "reached a dangerous levels in sub-Saharan Africa and must stop".

TheThe ECJ judgment on Thursday was a response to the Dutch Council of State, a top advisory body, which had asked whether homosexuals could be considered a "particular social group" and whether criminalization and possible imprisonment amounted to persecution. The ECJ says laws specifically targeting homosexuals do make them a separate group. Under international law a particular social group with a well-founded fear of persecution can claim refugee status if the persecution amounts to a severe violation of human rights.  

The ruling by the ECJ was a compassionate one and may give some glimmer of hope to the many persecuted LGBT Africans. But we must continue to strive to amend these repulsive anti-LGBT laws.

BBC News has more on the story.