Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum

SOGICA (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum: A European Human Rights Challenge) is a four-year (2016-2020) research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) exploring the social and legal experiences of individuals across Europe claiming international protection on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI).

Professor Nuno Ferreira in the School of Law led the project, with a team of researchers including Dr Carmelo Danisi, Dr Moira Dustin and Dr Nina Held. The project’s outputs include several articles and a two-volume monograph to be published in 2021 by Springer.

Contributing to improvements in the field of SOGI asylum was an aim of the project from the outset – improvements at European level and within the project’s case study jurisdictions of Germany, Italy and the UK.

Some of the ways in which this has begun to be achieved include:

  • Establishing a SOGICA database on the project website – an online repository of SOGI asylum materials that is a resource for lawyers, activists and policy-makers. The database has more than 1,1,00 items and continues to be updated on a regular basis.
  • The establishment of a SOGICA network of friends and also subscribers to the project’s newsletter – issued quarterly throughout the project to update subscribers about the project, but also about broader SOGI asylum developments in Europe and beyond.
  • A policy roundtable in September 2021 to highlight the recommendations and explore their implementation with officials and NGO representatives.
  • Media engagement throughout the project to highlight SOGI asylum concerns in each of the countries analysed.
  • A final conference that brought together 600 academics, policy makers, activists, lawyers and anyone with an interest in this field to share experiences and network.
  • Contributions to workshops and seminars to improve policy and practice, for example, the project team took part in European Asylum Support Office thematic webinars to increase protection standards for SOGI asylum claimants (November 2020 and February 2021). 

While much of the project’s scholarship is now complete, the application of the research findings to promote a more just SOGI asylum experience will continue.