Gay migrants face abuse in asylum shelters across Europe

    Gay migrants face abuse in asylum shelters across Europe

    Feb 22, Berlin: Gay migrants across Europe have been facing abuse in asylum shelters, however, most abuse is likely not reported because of European privacy laws and the stigma felt by gay migrants, and there is no official tally across the continent

    In Germany, the Lesbian and Gay Federation counted 106 cases of violence against homosexual and transgender refugees in the Berlin region from August through the end of January. Most of the cases came from refugee centers, and 13 included sexual abuse.

    The head of the federation in Berlin-Brandenburg Joerg Steinert said that refugees have been asking gay groups for help all over the country, reluctant to approach police for fear of jeopardizing their asylum applications.

    In 2015 alone, the federation placed 50 people in private homes because the migrant centers were too dangerous.

    The German Red Cross said it had a code of conduct banning violence at its shelters. And the Arbeiterwohlfahrt, or Worker's Welfare charity group, said it is trying to create safe spaces in new centers but cannot implement the highest standards it would like, media reports said.

    Some critics have said that it was up to the German government to protect migrants. But last month, a proposal to increase the security of asylum shelters was taken out of a government bill, despite official reprimands from the European Commission that Germany is not implementing EU safety guidelines.

    A special shelter with space for 122 gay and transgender migrants will open in Berlin on Tuesday, and another shelter with ten beds is expected in Nuremberg. Berlin has also appointed a counselor as contact person for the registration of gay and transgender migrants.

    In the Netherlands, a Dutch human rights group reported earlier this month on regular abuse of gays and lesbians at a large camp that can house up to 3,000 asylum seekers near the city of Nijmegen. The group, The College for Human Rights, said one asylum seeker "has repeatedly found excrement and food in his bed. He is threatened and abused by fellow residents,” according to reports.

    The Oslo Times


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