View Adopted: 2020.03.13
The author is a Nigerian national who has been denied asylum in Sweden and is therefore facing imminent deportation to Nigeria. The author claims that there is a risk his rights under article 7 of the Covenant would be violated by the State party if he were deported to his country of origin.
Following an unsuccessful initial application process for asylum without reference to his sexual orientation, the author submitted a second application for asylum citing concerns of persecution on the basis that the author identifies as homosexual. This application was also rejected by the Migration Agency considering that the author had not provided information about his situation and sexual orientation in a self-reflecting and coherent manner. The Migration Agency found the author’s statements about his sexual orientation not to be credible because they were vague, undetailed and implausible. This decision was upheld in following appeals. After the cessation of this process, the author received new information regarding the difficulties he would likely face in Nigeria due to his assumed sexual orientation. This was primarily based upon the fact that the author has participated in an interview of a publicly accessible newspaper about his asylum application and sexual orientation, as well as the fact that he learned that a friend has seen his name and face in a newspaper article published in the Nigerian Observer, stating that he was wanted by the police for homosexual activity and could face 10 to 14 years of imprisonment if convicted. His name and photograph was included in the physical copy of the newspaper article, dated 15 August 2014,4 about which he had received information only recently and had therefore been unable to submit it earlier. This application was also rejected by the Migration Agency.
The author argues that the Swedish authorities have not properly examined either of the newspaper articles. He specifically reiterates that no domestic authority has examined the consequences of the publication of the newspaper article even though the publication of the information in the article would expose him to a risk of further persecution if he were to be returned to Nigeria. The author thus submits that his forced return to Nigeria would expose him to a real risk of treatment contrary to article 7 of the Covenant due to his sexual orientation.
The Committee observes that the newspaper articles were duly assessed by the asylum authorities, which could not establish without a doubt that the photograph in the paper copy of the Nigerian Observer article was that of the author, thus posing a legitimate concern about the genuineness of the article. In addition, it was not established whether the article in the Swedish newspaper related to the author, and since its online access was limited to paying members, the asylum authorities did not consider that homosexual orientation would be ascribed to the author in his country of origin.
The Committee also observes that the migration authorities’ decisions of 18 December 2018 and 10 January 2019 took into account that A.E. did not speak about his sexual orientation until after his expulsion order had entered into legal force. It has affected the credibility of his information negatively, especially in view of the fact that at that time he had been in Sweden for 1.5 years and had had several meetings with the Migration Agency where he had had the opportunity to talk about it. At an overall assessment, the Migration Court found that A.E.’s story had escalated and contained such deficiencies and ambiguities that it did not appear credible.
In the circumstances of the present case, the Committee considers that the author’s claims mainly reflect his disagreement with the factual conclusions drawn by the State party’s authorities, and do not demonstrate that these conclusions are arbitrary or manifestly unreasonable or that the proceedings in question amounted to a procedural error or denial of justice. In the light of the above, the Committee concludes that the information before it does not demonstrate that the author would face a real and personal risk of treatment contrary to article 7 of the Covenant in the event of his removal to Nigeria.