The Czech government came under heavy criticism from one of the European Union's leading human rights agencies for continuing to implement a bizarre method of determining whether homosexual asylum seekers are legitimately gay, the BBC is reporting.
The Austrian-based European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights said the Czech Republic is the only known EU nation which continues to use "phallometric testing," in which male asylum seekers who claim to be gay are hooked up to a device which monitors blood flow to the penis while being shown heterosexual porn. If the device determines that the applicant became aroused while viewing the pornography, he will be denied asylum.
The agency said in a report that the practice potentially violates the European Convention on Human Rights as it "touches upon a most intimate part of an individual's private life," according to the Associated Press. Furthermore, the reliability of the test is questionable because "it is dubious whether it reaches sufficiently clear conclusions." The agency also noted "many [applicants] might have suffered abuse due to their sexual orientation and are thus specifically constrained by this kind of exposure," and that bisexual people were unlikely to pass.
The Czech Interior Ministry is fighting back against the criticism, reportedly claiming the testing has been carried out in fewer than 10 cases and always in the presence of a medical specialist. Ministry spokesman Pavel Novak also claims the test was only used on unreliable applicants from nations such as Iran, where gays and lesbians are subject to prosecution. He went on to note all those who passed the test had been granted asylum.