Sunday, 30 October 2011

MaltaStar: Malta to extend EU asylum standards to transgender people
29 October 2011 17:50

Malta will be changing its rules when considering applications for asylum after the European Parliament formally adopted a new set of asylum rules for the European Union that now include gender identity as a ground of persecution.

The resolution adopted two days ago specifies that “gender related aspects, including gender identity, shall be given due consideration”. The text now refers to gender identity specifically, and obliges Member States to consider gender-related aspects. Before, EU countries could still choose not to consider aspects linked to the applicant’s gender in asylum claims.

This is the first time a binding EU Directive includes gender identity.

Dennis de Jong MEP, Vice-president of the LGBT Intergroup and responsible for asylum policies in the GUE/NGL group, commented: “Around the world, transgender people can be persecuted for who they are. This reviewed Directive will recognise the danger they face, and it will commit EU Member States to taking gender identity into account in asylum claims. I hope in a future revision it will also become mandatory to consider the sexual orientation of applicants.”

Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, Vice-president of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “I am very proud that my colleagues from the centre-right EPP group supported this change, regardless of the views they hold on asylum in general. The European Union is only starting to recognise gender identity as a ground of persecution, but I hope today’s vote will help protect more lives.”

The binding rules will apply after they are transposed into EU Member States’ national law.

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