Mr Leers had already announced a temporary halt to the deportation of gay Iraqis last month following an alert from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry warned that it was impossible to be openly gay anywhere in Iraq without being at serious risk. The Iraqi authorities also fail to take any measures to stop discrimination or attacks on homosexuals.
Koen van Dijk of the Dutch gay rights organisation COC described the announcement as an important victory for Iraqis who had fled the country because of their sexual orientation. According to van Dijk, Iraq is the most dangerous country in the world for gay people: “Research has shown that 750 people have been murdered for this reason since 2003. There are systematic campaigns. Organised militias publicly declare that they’re hunting down people who exhibit ‘deviant’ behaviour and should be killed according to Islamic law.”
This of course is not an open door immigration policy. Asylum seekers will have to prove their claim is genuine–and this could be problematic. EU immigration authorities have found it difficult to establish what truly constitutes proof of being gay without relying on lazy stereotypes.
This is something Koen van Dijik also noted in greeting this news, saying, “People will have to prove something they’ve taught themselves to disguise out of fear for their entire life. It will be a very tricky situation and the immigration officials carrying out the interviews will need special training.”
Just this past week it emerged that the Canadian federal court had to step in with regards to a gay Nigerian man’s refugee claim because, the Court said, senior immigration judges had used incorrect and possibly stereotyping standards to asses whether the man’s claim was genuine, despite the man having offered an abundance of proof including photos of him and his partner.
A new wave of violence against Iraq’s LGBT population was reported at the beginning of March, with at least 42 gay men having been killed. Later reports suggest that some of those men were killed for being “emo” or “metrosexual.”
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