Netherlands: national authorities failed to examine if transgender woman could receive protection against persecution in Colombia

Friday, May 25, 2018

On 25 May 2018, the District Court of the Hague, sitting in Roermond, ruled on case NL17.12618, which concerned a transgender woman from Colombia whose asylum application had been rejected by the national authorities. She argued that she had been arrested, beaten, extorted and sexually abused by the police in relation to her involvement with prostitution; that she had been attacked and was sought after by a member of an ex-guerrilla group, and that she had experienced discrimination as a transgender and feared being attacked without being able to access state protection.

The Court ruled that stating that measures being taken by the Colombian government to improve the situation of LGBTI people are not enough to refute the applicant’s concerns regarding a lack of protection for transgender people in Colombia. It is necessary to assess if legal measures aimed at improving the situation of LGBTI people have led to a change in practice. Since the applicant had substantiated her claims with numerous reports that indicate, inter alia, that Colombia has a high number of homicides of transgender people and that they face considerable obstacles when accessing public services, it was up to the national authorities to refute this claim based on specific, up-to-date information.

Therefore, the Court concluded that the national authorities had erred in finding that the applicant could rely on the general protection afforded by the Colombian authorities, when no up-to-date report on the situation of LGBTI people in Colombia allows for the conclusion that the improvements mentioned by the authorities led to a positive change in practice. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has appealed against this decision, which is now pending.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.



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