(CN) – Europe’s highest court chided Hungarian authorities Thursday for using psychological tests to assess the sexual orientation of an asylum seeker.
Identified in the ruling only by an initial, F applied for asylum in Hungary on the basis that he would face persecution as a gay man in his home country of Nigeria.
There was nothing contradictory about F’s application, but a psychologist torpedoed F’s claim by saying his answers to several personality tests gave inconclusive results about his sexual orientation.
F claimed that the tests prejudiced his fundamental rights, but Hungary’s Institute of Forensic Experts and Investigators defended the methods used during the procedure for examining the asylum application.
Hungary’s Administrative and Labour Court in Szeged subsequently invited the European Court of Justice to determine whether EU law precludes national authorities from seeking and evaluating “a forensic psychologist’s expert opinion based on projective personality tests.”
The Luxembourg-based court sided Thursday with F, noting in particular that an asylum seeker’s consent to such an examination “is not necessarily given freely, being de facto imposed under the pressure of the circumstances in which applicants for international protection find themselves.”
The ruling states later: “It is apparent that the seriousness of the interference with private life entailed by the preparation and use of an expert’s report, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, exceeds that entailed by an assessment of the statements of the applicant for international protection relating to a fear of persecution on grounds of his sexual orientation or recourse to a psychologist’s expert report having a purpose other than that of establishing the applicant’s sexual orientation.”
Psychological reports also cannot be considered essential to adjudicate an application, the court found.
The ruling clarifies that there is nothing wrong with carrying out of a personal interview, and that the asylum applicants are also responsible for substantiating their applications.
But an “applicant’s statements concerning his sexual orientation which are not substantiated by documentary evidence or evidence of another kind do not need confirmation when the conditions set out in that provision are fulfilled,” the ruling states.
“Furthermore, even assuming that an expert’s report based on projective personality tests, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, may contribute to identifying with a degree of reliability the sexual orientation of the person concerned, it follows from the statements of the referring court that the conclusions of such an expert’s report are only capable of giving an indication of that sexual orientation,” the ruling continues. “Accordingly, those conclusions are, in any event, approximate in nature and are therefore of only limited interest for the purpose of assessing the statements of an applicant for international protection, in particular where, as in the case at issue in the main proceedings, those statements are not contradictory.”
The ruling identifies the tests given to F as the “Draw-a-Person-in-the-Rain” test, the Rorschach test and the Szondi test.