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As a result of asylum applications lodged by three gay men from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal, seeking refugee status in the Netherlands, with all noting they have a well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries based on their sexual orientation, the EU’s Advocate General, Eleanor Sharpston, said on July 11, that applicants for refugee status claiming they are persecuted for their homosexual orientation in their country of origin may form a ‘particular social group’ under EU refugee law.
Under current asylum rules, a third country national who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, is outside the country of nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to that country can claim refugee status.
The rules do not specify social groups based on sexual orientation.
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