Gay men routinely harassed in asylum center

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A gay couple holding hands (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Guillaume Paumier). A gay couple holding hands (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Guillaume Paumier)

Gay asylum seekers are routinely harassed in the Heumensoord asylum camp in Nijmegen, gay interest group COC said to De Gelderlander. According to the group, the gay men's beds get soaked or smeared with food and excrement and their clothes are routinely stolen or set on fire.

The COC knows of 12 homosexual asylum seekers in the camp. Ten of them are being harassed. In four cases the victims were threatened so violently that they fled the camp. The gay asylum seekers do not dare to sleep in the common areas in the camp. One of them spent a week sleeping in the forest.

The Municipal Advice Committee LGBT-policy advised the Nijmegen municipality to set up safe houses for the threatened and harassed asylum seekers, but alderman Bert Frings thinks this is a bad idea. "Because if you take away the victim, you reward the bully", he said to the newspaper.

According to him, this is a very complicated topic. "Suppose you have such safe houses, who then determines who is allowed inside? And what do you do with the Afghan women who are being bullied, or the Christian Eritreans? If we elevate bullying to reason, it gets complicated." Frings hopes that the victims will press charges or at least report the harassment to the central agency for the reception of asylum seekers COA. Because then the perpetrators can be dealt with.

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