Rights in Exile Programme

Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally

Andorra LGBTI Resources

 

(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists) 

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Andorra at the same time that it was in France, in the late 18th Century, when the new penal code was introduced in both countries.

Anti-discrimination laws are part of the Andorran Constitution including discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Such discrimination is illegal in the workplace, in state controlled media and regarding access to goods and services, housing and healthcare. Although there have been no court cases, it is generally understood that the term ‘sexual orientation’ includes sexual orientation and gender identity. (Penal Code in Catalan)

There exists also a ‘Stable Union’ between same sex couples that can be registered at state level that affords the couple the same duties and benefits as a married couple in terms of single parent adoption (but not as a couple), economic rights and inheritance rights. There is also a right to maintenance after dissolution of a stable union. However marriage per se is not legal between members of the same sex. (Legislation in Catalan)

Gender reassignment (Sections B14 and B15, COWI Report) at any time after the birth of a child is not supported by the healthcare system (except at childbirth if the child is born intersex). At present there have been no cases in Andorran hospitals of gender reassignment after birth. It is not possible to alter the gender of the person on national documents if they opt for gender reassignment surgery elsewhere and have the reassignment recognised in Andorra for the purposes of name changes, although it is illegal to dismiss someone from their employment on the grounds of them having had a gender reassignment operation (Section B9, COWI Report).

Although Andorra has numerous rights protecting LGBTIs within their state, they are not a signatory to the 1951 convention and hence do not provide protection to refugees coming from other countries who are being persecuted on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As Andorra does not have any airports or a coastline, it is not possible to arrive in there as the first country of entry.

Notes on the Andorran Legal System:
Andorra is a parliamentary co-principate that requires it’s new legislation to be endorsed by both the French co-principate (the president of France) and the Spanish co-principate (the bishop of La Seu d’Urgell, Catalunya). If one of the co-principates disagrees with the legislation to be passed, they can hold an unconstitutionality appeal. If this fails, then the signature of the other co-prince will do to ratify the legislation (as happened with the Stable Union Legislation which was approved only by the President of France). Note that the Andorran people have no rights in terms of the election of the co-princes. (Information on the legal system is available here).

CASE LAW

In 2000 a seventeen-year-old Portuguese man, Nuno Miguel Oliveira was beaten to death outside a nightclub in the capital, Andorra la Vella, by two Spanish men who admitted that one of the reasons behind the brutal aggression was the fact that the victim was homosexual (news articles in Spanish here and here). The judge in the case cited that there was no precedent for him to be able to interpret the anti-discrimination article in the constitution at the time to read ‘sexual orientation’ into the word ‘sex’. He defined sex as physical gender differences. The constitution and penal code were subsequently reformed and since 2005 anti-discrimination laws on the grounds of sexual orientation have been enforced on a national and provincial level.

PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE'S CAPACITY TO PROTECT

Andorra does not recognize same-sex marriages that take place abroad, although they allow same-sex couples to register as a stable union if the couple fulfils the residence/citizen criteria.

There have been protests held in the country for a number of years regarding blood donations, as gay men are not allowed to donate blood to the French collecting agency because they are deemed to be a high-risk group. (In Spanish)
The President of the Association representing LGBTI rights in Andorra (Som Com Som) endorsed the signing of an agreement between the Catalan Blood and Tissue Bank the Andorran Government that implemented a strict system of controls that would allow the risk group of a person to be determined by factors other than their sexual preference. However, the French collection agency Établissement Français du Sang is still in use, and both the Catalan and the French Agencies provide the blood collection necessary for Andorra as a nation.

In 2009 when the Social Democrat president Jaime Bartumeu was elected, he promised that talks of gay marriage would no longer be a taboo in Andorran society and parliament. However his party didn’t manage to get any legislation to pass through the houses before having to step down in 2011. A number of studies have shown that the media and local authorities have presented LGBTI issues fairly when they are addressed. This might also be because anti-discrimination laws were extended to include implementation by local authorities in order for them to function effectively. (See article 6(2) of the Constitution of Andorra).

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)

The NGO ‘Som Com Som’ mentioned above is the only LGBTI organization that actively campaigns on a regular basis for equal rights. Unfortunately they don’t have a website and their contact details are not available outside Andorra. 

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS

 We have no specialist on LGBTI for Andorra, but would welcome suggestions.

 

 

Researched by: Shenaz Bharvaney Daswani

Email: skbd55@gmail.com

 

 

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