A year after its introduction, the Dutch Immigration and Nationalisation Service (IND) still has poor implementation of the new asylum policy for LGBTIs. Dutch interest group COC Netherlands (COC) illustrates this on the basis of seventeen examples in a letter to the new State Secretary for Asylum and the Dutch Lower House.
The COC calls on VVD State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol (Asylum) to take immediate action.
In July 2018, former State Secretary Mark Harbers implemented a series of improvements to LGBTI asylum policy. This happened, among other things, in relation to the COC report Trots of schaamte? by Sabine Jansen LL M. A year after the introduction of the new policy, it appears that in many cases, the Immigration and Naturalization Service is ignoring those policy improvements.
"It is incomprehensible and detrimental that, one year after the introduction of the new LGBTI asylum policy, the IND still acts as if nothing has changed," COC chairperson Astrid Oosenbrug stated. "We want the new State Secretary to call the IND to order and ensure that the improved policy is implemented.”
"Criteria and pillars being tested"
The IND, for example, still regularly rejects LGBTI asylum seekers because they have not gone through a process of awareness and self-acceptance. The State Secretary removed that criterion in July 2018 as it is a faulty stereotype.
The asylum request from a lesbian woman from Tunisia was rejected, for instance, because she did not go through a "process of awareness and self-acceptance." While this criterion has been removed from the policy, the IND calls such processes in this file "the core [of the] orientation" and "the pillars against which the stated orientation is tested".
Under the new policy, it is not acceptable to expect LGBTI people to think negatively about themselves and struggle with their identity. Nevertheless, the IND believes that a gay man from Guinea "should have provided insight into the immediate commitment to his homosexual orientation."
Against the new rules, the IND also regularly simply sets aside third-party statements. The IND also ignored a statement from the male partner of a gay man from Nigeria, in which that partner stated that the two have long been in a relationship. The IND, however, did believe that the partner is gay.
The COC requires the State Secretary to instruct the IND to implement the improved policy immediately and in full. The new policy should be explained in the training of all IND employees. Asylum seekers who have been rejected on the basis of these abolished, unsound criteria must be heard again on the basis of sound criteria. The COC also argues for more scientific research into the implementation of the new LGBTI asylum policy.
The seventeen examples from the COC letter come from jurisprudence and asylum records. It is not an exhaustive overview, and it is quite possible that the IND acted incorrectly on many more occasions.
In a letter to the government, LGBT Asylum Support also recently described an example of an LGBTI asylum case in which "processes of awareness and self-acceptance" still erroneously played a role.