Dutch ease asylum procedures for Uganda gays

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No image availableNL Times

State Secretary of Justice Fred Teeven wants to ease asylum policies that apply to gays from Uganda.

He said on Radio 1 that the asylum policies are being eased to counter the new anti-gay law that was approved yesterday by Uganda President Museveni. “It’s draconian legislation,” Teeven said about the anti-gay bill that allows harsh penalties for "homosexual offences".

Homosexuality was punishable before the new law, but now gays, who Museveni called "mercenaries" and "prostitutes” risk up to life in prison if caught. Parliament initially pushed for a death sentence on some homosexual acts, but bowed to international pressure.

Teeven characterized the anti-gay bill as “something that disturbs all of us Dutch people.” He said he will be informing the Second Chamber of his plans this week. He stressed that his intentions to ease asylum procedures does not only apply to the policies regarding deportation, but also to new requests for asylum. He said any Ugandan refugees who wish to make use of the easier procedures should prove that they are really gay.

LGBT advocacy group had earlier called on Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans to pressure Uganda to remove the anti-gay legislation and to ease the asylum procedures for Ugandan refugees targeted in their home country by the new law. The Netherlands announced yesterday that it was scrapping part of the financial aid that the African nation was receiving, some €7 million for the country’s justice department.

And there were brief fears a few days ago, that a letter from Schiedam to President Museveni was a mailbomb. The letter –as reported elsewhere on NLTimes today- contained promotional flyers for the Spanish region of Catalonia. It still is not clear why someone from Schiedam would send letters to Museveni.