Dutch Immigration minister Gerd Leers said on Thursday that gay Iraqis now qualify for asylum in the Netherlands.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports
The Dutch government has decided to grant asylum to gay Iraqis. Immigration minister Geert Leers says Iraq is no longer safe for homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.
Mr Leers had already announced a temporary halt to the deportation of gay Iraqis last month following an alert from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry warned that it was impossible to be openly gay anywhere in Iraq without being at serious risk. The Iraqi authorities also fail to take any measures to stop discrimination or attacks on homosexuals.
Koen van Dijk of the Dutch gay rights organisation COC described the announcement as an important victory for Iraqis who had fled the country because of their sexual orientation. According to van Dijk, Iraq is the most dangerous country in the world for gay people: “Research has shown that 750 people have been murdered for this reason since 2003. There are systematic campaigns. Organised militias publicly declare that they’re hunting down people who exhibit ‘deviant’ behaviour and should be killed according to Islamic law.”
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