The Netherlands opens its doors to LGBT Iraqis

The Netherlands will grant asylum to any LGBT Iraqi who can provide proof of their sexuality after the country's Immigration Minister declared the entire country unsafe for gays

The Netherlands opens its doors to LGBT Iraqis
14 July 2012

The Dutch government has announced it will open its doors to LGBT Iraqis, after declaring the country unsafe for homosexuals.

Dutch Immigration Minister Geert Leers had already announced a temporary halt to the deportation of LGBT asylum seekers back to Iraq in June, but has now gone the further step of declaring that it is impossible to be openly gay without risking your safety in any part of the country.

However asylum seekers will have to be able to prove that they are gay in order to take up the offer.

The Dutch Parliament had asked Leers to carry out investigations into the status of LGBTs in Iraq in March following a wave of gay-hate murders in the country.

Dutch LGBT rights group COC welcomed the move but its Executive Director Koen van Dijk told Radio Netherlands Worldwide that it would be problematic for gay Iraqis to prove their sexuality.

‘People will have to prove something they’ve taught themselves to disguise out of fear for their entire life,’ van Dijk said.

‘It will be a very tricky situation and the immigration officials carrying out the interviews will need special training.’

Van Dijk said that Iraq was currently the most dangerous place in the world to be LGBT.

‘Research has shown that 750 people have been murdered for this reason since 2003,’ van Dijk said.

‘There are systematic campaigns. Organized militias publicly declare that they’re hunting down people who exhibit ‘deviant’ behavior and should be killed according to Islamic law.’

In many cases, the bodies of murdered LGBTs have been left on display by militias as a warning to others, and bodies are frequently mutilated or interfered with in other ways.

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