The rights and experiences of LGBTI refugees in Europe: a comparative study of procedures and practices in Italy and Sweden
Abstract: The main problem of this thesis was the comparative analysis of the procedures in place in Sweden and Italy for the reception and support of LGBTI asylum seekers fleeing from war. The aim was to understand if the Swedish and Italian asylum and social systems are supporting and protecting the rights of LGBTI asylum seekers equally, also by uncovering how these procedures affect individuals. The method used to carry out this study was analysis of secondary documents. Queer and migration research, as well as reports, were used to provide a general framework to the issue, while country-specific data was sought in current domestic legislation and country reports carried out by local and international NGOs invested in LGBTI and migrants rights. The gathered information was examined from a descriptive, critical and constructive perspective, and placed within a prevailing comparative framework. Indeed, at the core of the study, lies a comparison between procedural differences in Sweden and Italy concerning the reception and protection of LGBTI asylum seekers who flee war. It was found that in Sweden and Italy people seeking refuge from war torn countries have much higher possibilities to be granted asylum than any other group of migrants. However, with regards to LGBTI asylum seekers from other countries, the social and asylum system of both are structurally violent in that the exclusion and discrimination against sexual minority refugees is the standard. In fact, LGBTI asylum seekers face similar challenges related to their intersectional identity in Sweden as well as Italy, although to different degrees: compared to Italy, Sweden has more standard procedures set in place that help queer asylees have a better experience. Nevertheless, neither systems hold up to the standard they should as consistent reports describe unlawful practices that violate humanitarian law and breach of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Ultimately, LGBTI asylum seekers appear to have virtually no control over any aspect of their application or experience in the asylum and social system in Sweden as well as Italy. Therefore, rather than experiencing a newfound freedom, in entering the Italian and Swedish democratic spaces, these individuals simply experience a different kind of oppression.
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