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Thursday, 15 December 2011

LGBT refugee support in the Netherlands: Meeting report

Source: GK Platform

[Google translation]

By Michel Becker

Following the international (legal) congress 'Fleeing homophobia and seeking safety in Europe' has a theme day Netherlands Refugee gender-specific persecution organized. At the seminar we wanted some more on the practical implementation and (legal) support LGBT refugees.

One of the conclusions that emerged from Fleeing homophobia was, "Determining someone's sexual orientation or gender identity should, in principle, based on self-identification and should not be covered by medical or psychiatric categories. Interviewers, adjudicating officials, policy makers, the judiciary and legal professionals should be trained and educated in order to better understand a person's sexual orientation and / or gender identity, and should avoid becoming useless to rely on stereotypes." So there is still a task for, among other things, Refugees.

As guest speakers we have Boris Dittrich (advocacy director of Human Rights Watch), Prof. Thomas Spijkerboer (professor gender migration and management sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Michel Becker (paralegal Refugees Central Ontario) were asked to tell something about their profession and a discussion suggestions and recommendations to get rid of.

After an impressive film clip about the life of gay men in Uganda Boris bite the head off with a lecture on the position of gay people in countries where homosexuality is prohibited by law. With some poignant examples, he knew the current state of affairs in the world to sketch. Thomas continued with an interesting account of the legal aspects of cases involving homosexuality a flight motive. Which he sarcastically remarked that statements from the highest administrative court (Division of the Council of State) at some points punctuated with homophobia. It is really remarkable that where the Netherlands in equality primarily seeks the best of the class to be our country in the area of gay rights (protection to gay refugees) along with Austria, one of worst countries in Europe are .

After lunch, where there was extensive networking, Michel went on the practical aspects of counseling of gay refugees. Gevluchte many gay men do not dare at first to indicate that they fled because of their homosexuality. How do you mention this? Shows how a refugee and that he's gay? Michel then interviewed three clients who sometimes poignant and sometimes shocking told how the situation in the country of origin for gay men. Interviewed a man of 31 from Iraq, which currently has a repeated application does because he is in a first procedure has not indicated that he had fled because of his sexual orientation, a 31-year-old woman from Uganda whose asylum application was rejected and for which professional the court has been entered and a 21-year-old man from Cameroon who granted residence.

What were their experiences in both their homeland and in the Netherlands? They have something in the (legal) guidance missed, and they give us this? What is desirable and what is not? It is especially important by the interviewees that there is a mutual respect and that employees are not particularly biased. Only then can a proper trust be built and there is room to talk about even more intimate affairs. However, there must be at the outset to make clear that it is essential that the actual flight patterns are put forward.

In the open discussion led by moderator Trees Wijn, head asylum Refugees, recommendations were also shared their own experiences. After all, that was purpose of this day, besides imparting tools to correct their own (legal) assistance to improve. That is quite successful. At the dedication of the attendees will not lie. The theme of gender-specific persecution is again put on the map. There will be following these days, specific recommendations. Thus, for the first reception of refugees actually a homosexual network must be formed by including COC, Refugees and Secret Garden, so that clients ropes made ​​in the local gay community and the asylum procedure. Especially considering the exceptionally sad circumstances in which clients often end up like them in a refugee center (AZC) are placed with predominantly Muslim refugee, this is a big issue.

Gay men fleeing in the Netherlands should feel safe so they get more and openly discuss the asylum procedure. This should include employees of Refugee and Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) are trained in intercultural communication, knowledge of country information and personal approach. Only then can the Netherlands a safe future for refugees who have everything and everyone to leave in all freedom and security to live.

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