Verdonk relents: Gay Iranians can stay
8 October 2006, AMSTERDAM — In an about face, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has ruled that gay asylum seekers from Iran will be issued with a residence permit.
8 October 2006
AMSTERDAM — In an about face, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has ruled that gay asylum seekers from Iran will be issued with a residence permit.
The Liberal VVD minister has informed the Dutch Parliament of her decision, citing "pressing reasons of a humanitarian nature".
Verdonk also said Iranian Christians will be temporarily allowed to stay in the Netherlands until May.
She said there was currently insufficient information about the dangers they face in their birth country.
Verdonk planned in March to deport Iranian gay asylum seekers, but her stance met with heavy resistance from MPs in the Lower House and her own VVD party.
The Liberals said it would be unwise to expel gay asylum seekers to a nation where homosexual sex is punished with the death penalty.
Verdonk said her new decision not to deport gay Iranians was based on a letter from Human Rights Watch.
The letter indicated that gays and lesbians were at greater risk of human rights violations in Iran.
Iranian asylum seekers who can prove they are gay or lesbian will be issued with a residence permit. Abuse of regulations will result in the loss of the right to stay.
Iranian Christians will not be deported until at least May next year, by which time Verdonk hopes to have more information regarding the threat posed to Christians in the strict Islamic nation.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Dutch news