Justice/fight against Discrimination : Executive Denounces Czech Phallometric Tests

Article excerpt

On 17 May, International Day Against Homophobia, the European Commission denounced the phallometric tests practiced by the Czech Republic on asylum seekers the check whether they are homosexualsaand thus to prove that they have suffered persecution in their country, according to a letter seen by Europolitics social. The Commission has opened an investigation.

"The practice of phallometric tests is an invasion of privacy and an assault to human dignity. This type of degrading treatment should not be accepted in the European Union or elsewhere," denounces Immigration Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. Her staff has decided to open an investigation and to wrap up a procedure launched in December, enabling the Commission to demand legal changes in a member state without having to open infringement proceedings.

The Czech response of last February was hardly reassuring to the Commission.

Phallometric testing consists in measuring male erectile responses to the presentation of various sexual and non-sexual stimuli. "There are doubts about the compatibility of this practice with Articles 4 and 7 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which prohibits torture and degrading treatments. Such treatments are humiliating and create feelings of fear, anxiety and inferiority," writes the Commission.

French MEP Sylvie Guillaume (Socialist) states that 80 of the 192 United Nations member states still penalise homosexuality. …