Tuesday 09 August 2022

Gay refugee wins right to stay after Dutch court overturns justice minister

A gay Iraqi refugee has been given temporary leave to stay in the Netherlands after judges in The Hague said officials were wrong to say he was ‘not gay enough’.

The 26-year-old fled Iraq in 2015 and claimed to have been abused by his uncle and his uncles friends since he was 12, the Parool reported on Tuesday. He also feared members of his family would kill him because of his sexual orientation.

But junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhof refused to give him a refugee permit, saying he had not sufficiently proved that he was homosexual. Dijkhof based his ruling on the man’s description of how he realised he was gay. The process of self-acceptance of being gay plays a key role of asylum claims based on homosexuality.

However, the court said that photographs and a statement by the man’s live-in partner, should be taken into account. In addition, the fact he could be in danger if sent back to Iraq is also relevant to the application, judges said.

In May, another gay Iraqi, 29-year-old Sahir, faced deportation for failing to convince officials about how he realised he was gay.

Today’s ruling – that being gay is more than a process of self-realisation – is important because other gay refugees will be able to refer to it in appeal cases, lawyer Oscar Hammerstein told the Parool.

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