Amsterdam says it will place lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender refugees in housing separate from the other asylum seekers after a series of attacks were reported.
Previously, State Secretary of Security and Justice and Minister for Immigration Klaas Dijkhoff said he did not support separate accommodation for gay refugees because it was ‘stigmatizing,’ Dutch News reported.
Five gay asylum seekers–three Syrians, one Iranian and one Iraqi–have been moved to new housing after they were spat on and attacked at their previous refugee center.
A spokesman for the Salvation Army, which is in charge of refugee accommodation in the capital, was quoted as saying that the men’s safety could not be guaranteed in their former housing.
The Parool newspaper reported that gay refugees will have their own wing in the Groenhof refugee center in a former care home close to the city centre early next year.
‘LGBTs are extra vulnerable and I consider it crucial that they have a safe environment to recover and receive care,’ city alderman Simone Kukenheim was quoted as saying.
According to NL Times, gay rights advocacy group COC wrote a letter to State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice in October reporting the number of incidents in asylum shelters in which gay asylum seekers were harassed and threatened because of their sexual orientation.
The group also said that the number of such incidents are likely to be under reported because many LGBTI refugees are too afraid to report what happened or do not know how.
At the time, Dijkhoff rejected the idea of a separate shelter for LGBT refugees, calling it ‘stigmatizing.’
The Times also reported that the Salvation Army and a housing association have teamed up and found a separate shelter for five gay refugees, men from Syria, Iraq and Iran.
This weekend another four refugees will be moved into a separate house under the supervision of Safe Haven, an organization that offers guidance to gay people with a multicultural background.