Is there consistency in evaluation of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity asylum seeker cases?

CARES is a research project that is funded by Swedish research council for health, working life and welfare (FORTE) and runs 2021-2025. In the project it is investigated whether SOGI claimants are treated consistently in the asylum procedure. The project leader is Thomas Wimark.

Seeking asylum based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) differs from regular asylum claims. SOGI claims are a distinct subgroup because their claims relate to the body and non-tangible identity traits. In assessing credibility, the Swedish Migration Agency must assess internal identities – a more intrusive, potentially harmful and traumatic process with many as yet unquantified (mental) health outcomes. Yet, little scholarship informs SOGI-related asylum assessments; currently, scholarship draw from non-randomised samples, rendering generalisations implausible. 

In the project we will (1) create representative database of asylum decisions, (2) analyse in-praxis asylum decisions, and (3) explore best-practice methods for interviewing SOGI claimants, to focus on SOGI claimants as a distinct subgroup with specific risk and protection needs. Our representative sample will determine how these distinct needs impact the likelihood of being granted asylum differs across asylum claims, and, the potential success of SOGI applications too. Our qualitative analysis will determine what norms and values inform these decisions. We then investigate asylum interviewing practice, determining preventative best-practice for non-harmful narration of SOGI claims.

This project’s academic contribution rectifies existing uncertainties and gaps in asylum procedure. Its societal contribution – especially to the health and well-being of SOGI claimants – will be increasing transparency in credibility assessments that will rectify ambiguities relating to norms, values and overcome typecasting on asylum claims. The project will ensure a less traumatic and less intrusive asylum process for SOGI asylum seekers.

Participating researchers:
Rebecca Thorburn Stern Department of Law, Uppsala University
Danielle Drozdzewski Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University

Last modified: 2022-09-13