On 7 November 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its judment in X, Y, Z v. Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel.
In its judgment, the CJEU ruled that asylum seekers who are escaping their home countries because of a fear for persecution based on their sexual orientation cannot be expected to “conceal [their] homosexuality in [their] country of origin or exercise restraint in expressing it”. The CJEU considered that the existence of criminal laws, which specifically target homosexuals, supports the finding that they must be regarded as forming a “particular social group”. Where such criminal laws sanction homosexuality by means of a term of imprisonment and they are actually applied in the country of origin this amounts to an act of persecution.
X, Y and Z were three asylum applicants in the Netherlands from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal, who in their respective country of origin faced a criminal offence punishable by a term of imprisonment due to being homosexual.
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