Czech government defends use of ‘gay tests’ for asylum seekers

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The Czech government has defended the use of ‘arousal tests’ to check if asylum seekers who say they are gay are telling the truth.

The practice was revealed in a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) report last week, which said that asylum seekers who claimed to be gay were subjected to “phallometric testing”.

The tests involve watching heterosexual porn while arousal levels are tested. It is used on people who apply for asylum on the basis of suffering homophobic persecution.

The Czech Interior Ministry said in a statement to Associated Press that asylum seekers can only be tested with their consent.

Ministry spokesman Pavel Novak said the technique had been used fewer than ten times and was always carried out by a medical expert.

He said it was used on unreliable applicants from countries where it is illegal to be gay and that all of those who passed the test were granted asylum.

The FRA said the practice violates international human rights laws which prohibit torture and inhumane or degrading treatment. It may also violate provisions around the right to a private life.

In addition, it questioned whether asylum seekers could consent to the test if refusal is taken as proof of lying.

Furthermore, bisexual people are unlikely to pass the test, the agency said.

The UN Refugee Agency says that “self-identification as LGBT should be taken as an indication of the individual’s sexual orientation”, and that any doubt should benefit the asylum seeker.