Netherlands Grants Asylum To LGBT Iraqis
LGBT Iraqis facing persecution at home are now eligible for asylum in The Netherlands.
The situation facing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Iraq is so serious that they do now qualify for asylum in the Netherlands, immigration minister Gerd Leers said on Thursday. However, would-be refugees will have to prove they are from Iraq, the minister said in a briefing. His decision follows the publication of a foreign affairs ministry report which was highly critical of the treatment of homosexuals in Iraq and said in some areas they are deliberately targeted by armed militias.The change is abrupt about-face for Minister Leers, who said in April that gay asylum seekers should "hide their homosexuality" in their home countries rather than seek refuge in The Netherlands. The new rule apparently only applies to Iraq although LGBT people from at least three other nations have recently sought asylum in The Netherlands.