The government of the Netherlands has decided to offer asylum to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Iraqis after the Dutch immigration minister found that LGBT Iraqis faced “serious risks” to their lives and safety.
The Dutch government asked the minister, Geert Leers, to carry out an inquiry into the status of LGBT people in Iraq following a horrifying wave of brutal anti-gay murders in that country last March. According to Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Leers temporarily halted the deportations of gay Iraqis in June pending the results of his investigation.
RNW reports that there is still some confusion as to how Iraqi asylum-seekers will prove their sexual orientation to immigration officials:
Asylum-seekers will have to prove that they are homosexual before their request is granted. It is unclear just how this will be checked and, says van Dijk [a Dutch LGBT rights activist], it will lead to difficulties, “especially because people will have to prove something they’ve taught themselves to disguise out of fear for their entire life. It will be a very tricky situation and the immigration officials carrying out the interviews will need special training.”
It’s good to see the Netherlands — long a trailblazer on LGBT rights issues — stepping to the forefront yet again and doing what it can to protect sexual and gender minorities who’ve managed to escape from one of the most dangerous places on earth for the LGBT community.