Amsterdam to separate LGBT refugees from other asylum seekers

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Amsterdam decided to give lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender refugees shelter separate from the other asylum seekers following a number of threats and other incidents, Het Parool reported on Friday.

In October gay interest group COC wrote a letter to State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice reporting the number of incidents in asylum shelters in which gay asylum seekers are harassed and threatened because of their sexual orientation. According to the COC, the actual number of incidents could be much higher because many gay refugees are too afraid to report what happened or do not know how to go about it. Dijkhoff rejected the idea of a separate shelter for LGBT refugees, calling it "stigmatizing"

According to Het Parool, Amsterdam decided to go against Dijkhoff's decision following a number of such incidents. The Salvation Army and a housing association 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. This group is under the supervision of Safe Haven, an organization that offers guidance to gay people with a multicultural background.

Diversity Alderman Simone Kukenheim is investigating how safe shelter for LGBT refugees can be structurally arranged. According to her, it should be made absolutely clear that all LGBT people, including refugees, are fully accepted in the Netherlands.

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