Hundreds lied about sexual orientation to get asylum in Netherlands: report
Hundreds of asylum seekers from Uganda lied about being homosexual to get asylum in the Netherlands, NRC reports based on internal documents from the immigration and naturalization service IND.
Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison. Ugandans from the LGBTQ community therefore have a good chance being granted asylum in the Netherlands. According to NRC, over 400 Ugandans applied for asylum in the Netherlands in the past two years.
In 2018, the IND decided to investigate over 200 approved asylum applications that were filed by men and women claiming persecution due to homosexuality between 2014 and 2017, after receiving various tips, the newspaper wrote. The IND application center at Schiphol received several anonymous letters about Ugandan asylum seekers being trained in Amsterdam on how to fake being homosexual. Other Ugandan asylum seekers also made incriminating statements to the IND about their fellow countrymen falsely claiming to be homosexual, according to the newspaper.
The IND believes that a network of people smugglers in the Netherlands and Uganda is behind this fraud. "A picture has emerged of organized networks that facilitate fraud and abuse of the visa and IND procedures," the service said to the newspaper. The Ministry of Justice and Security, which covers the IND, did not want to comment to NRC "because the investigation is still ongoing".
According to NRC, the IND noted that many of the investigated cases had very similar stories of their flight from Uganda, with both the events and story lines showing similarities. Asylum lawyer Erik Hagenaars, who regularly assist LGBTQ asylum seekers, called this nonsense. According to him, it is logical that the flight stories are similar. The IND mainly looks for contradictions and vague statements in order to reject such a request, he said to NRC.