Aftenposten (Oslo), May 19, 2006
The Directorate of Immigration (UDI) gave all Iranian asylum seekers residency if applicants claimed to be homosexual.
The UDI granted asylum even if the testimony often had little backing or appeared to be patently false, newspaper VG reports.
The information emerged in connection with documents submitted to an investigatory commission examining how the UDI functioned in the period under former Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Erna Solberg until today.
While UDI leadership assured Solberg that asylum seekers were being handled on an individual case-by-case basis, and keeping in mind the danger of persecution in their homeland, caseworkers were instructed to grant asylum “as long as the applicant gives being homosexual/lesbian as the reason”.
According to VG, UDI representatives have presented a range of cases in the Iran asylum affair where caseworkers clearly note their skepticism towards the applicant testimony given, but asylum was granted.
Homosexuality is punishable in Iran, but according to experts the demands of proof are extremely high, making punishment rare in practice.