A gay man fleeing from Gambia.
A gay man fleeing from Gambia. Credit: Jane Hahn

Migration Agency cannot say how many LGBTQ asylum cases it handles

Sofia Sjöö: We have hired LGBTQ specialists to improve our processes.
5:44 min

Sofia Sjöö, at the Swedish Migration Agency, told Radio Sweden that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer asylum seekers have been asked "stereotypical" questions – meaning their cases may have been processed unfairly, but that her organisation does not keep track of how many LGBTQ cases it handles.

LGBTQ asylum seekers claim the Migration Agency asks unfair questions and makes arbitrary decisions. The Agency told Radio Sweden it has hired specialists to improve its processes, but admits it cannot file comprehensive statistics.

As an Agency there have been challenges over the past couple of years."

Last week, Radio Sweden met a gay man fleeing from Senegal, who suggested that a Migration Agency case worker did not believe he was truly gay as he had no evidence of previously being in a same-sex relationship.

Stig-Åke Petersson, a lawyer at RFSL, the main Swedish LGBTQ organisation, suggests there is an increasing number of unsuccessful LGBTQ asylum cases, following arbitrary questioning.

But according to Sjöö, case workers follow a specific procedure, involving LGBTQ specialists, when interviewing LGBTQ asylum seekers.

It is difficult to verify any reports of arbitrary questioning or to investigate LGBTQ asylum success rates.

This is because the Migration Agency is, by Swedish law, not allowed to record the sexual orientation or gender identity of its applicants.

Last month, the government awarded the Migration Agency 2 million SEK in order to improve their work on LGBTQ asylum issues. No strategy has been developed as yet.


Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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