Target: Minister of the Interior of the Czech Republic
Goal: Ban penile phallometry used to determine sexual orientation of asylum seekers in the Czech Republic
Phallometric testing, or penile phallometry, is a method claimed to be a “scientific” way to determine sexual orientation. Men seeking asylum in the Czech Republic on the grounds of being gay, fleeing persecution they face in the countries of origin, are being hooked up to a machine – through attachment of electrodes to the penis – that monitors blood flow, and are made to watch straight porn. If they become aroused, they are denied asylum. Those refusing to undergo this degrading and humiliating procedure may be denied asylum.
The Czech Republic has led the way in developing penile phallometry in the first place, originally as a method used to test men suspected of claiming homosexuality as a way to avoid military service. Not only has the method been determined to be highly unreliable scientifically, it has also been sharply criticized by the Fundamental Rights Agency, saying that it violates the European Convention of Human Rights.
The European Commission, including the Czech Republic’s own Human Rights Commissioner, has deemed this method an invasion of privacy and an assault on human dignity. Despite this critique, the country’s Interior Ministry has defended the use of this method, stating that no more than 10 persons have undergone such testing for asylum purposes. The ministry has not indicated how a violation of human rights is less offensive if it is only practiced it on a few people. Last year, the ministry said it is considering other ways to do it differently after critique from the European Commission and the United Nations Human Rights Council. They also said they are themselves looking into whether or not the method really violates human rights.
Even though the ministry says it has stopped using phallometric testing for the purpose of asylum cases, it has not yet been outlawed. Sign this petition and demand that this degrading procedure, and human rights violation, be legally banned.
Dear Minister of the Interior of the Czech Republic,
The humiliating process of phallometric testing used to “scientifically” test asylum seeking homosexual men in the Czech Republic needs to be completely outlawed. This procedure is not only degrading – it also violates human rights in respect to the Geneva Convention as well as the European Convention.
I understand that this procedure has not been used in many instances; however, allowing it one time is allowing it one too many times. I also understand that after the critique you received from the United Nations Human Rights Council, you have – in practice – stopped using this procedure. I am urging you to take it one step further and completely ban the use of this practice in its entirety. Illegalize phallometric testing for the purpose of asylum cases and take a stand for refugee rights, gay rights, and most of all, human rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Electrodes vis XtremeCamera