On 5 July 2016, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Hungary, in the case of O.M. v Hungary. O.M., an Iranian national represented by a Hungarian Helsinki Committee lawyer, had fled Iran because of his homosexuality and was detained in Hungary for nearly two months before being recognised as a refugee.
The Court unanimously ruled that the asylum seeker’s detention was arbitrary and unjustified, in violation of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, guaranteeing the right to liberty and security. In particular, the Court found that the Hungarian authorities had failed to take into account the applicant’s vulnerability in the detention facility based on his sexual orientation.
ECRE submitted joint written observations in this case, with the ICJ, the AIRE Centre, and ILGA-Europe. The interveners welcome the judgment and note that “this decision is a definite step forward as it reiterates asylum seekers inherent vulnerability and the risks their detention may entail due to potential violence and discrimination, particularly on account of their sexual orientation. The Court emphasised special care the authorities should exercise when deciding on deprivation of liberty in such situations.”
For more detailed information on the case, see this week’s ELENA Weekly Legal Update.
For further information:
- AIRE Centre, Court confirms sexual orientation is a vulnerability for asylum seekers in detention, 5 July
- ILGA Europe, European court strikes against Hungary’s arbitrary detention of LGBT asylum seekers, 5 July
This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 8 July 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.