Cabinet to crack down on anti-gay violence

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Penalties for anti-gay violence will be doubled, according to new measures being announced on Friday by the Dutch government.

Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten and Education Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt said that intimidation, threats and violence targeting gays and lesbians should be eradicated. The new rules will come into effect on 1 June, 2011.

According to daily further measures include a directive for police to respond to anti-gay violence reports without delay. Schools will be required to report anti-gay incidents to the government's Education Inspectorate.

Every kind of discrimination Education Minister van Bijsterveldt says that far too many gay and lesbian youths are afraid to come out of the closet. The rate of attempted suicides among these teenagers, according to some figures, is 12 percent. The minister says the new rules are not just targeting discrimination against gay people, "It is a generic rule. Every kind of discrimination should be countered."

The cabinet said it is aware that certain groups in society, such as ethnic minorities and orthodox religious communities, are having difficulty coming to terms with homosexuality. But Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten did not mince his words. "Violence against gays is unacceptable. Gays and lesbians can rely on this government to guarantee their security."

Foreign policy LGBT rights figure prominently in the Dutch cabinet's policies. Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal wrote to the Lower House on Wednesday that he will actively oppose the treatment of homosexuality as a punishable offence in parts of Africa. Mr Rosenthal also announced that he will support improvement of LGBT rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Vera Bergkamp, the chair of the Dutch gay rights association COC, said the group is delighted with the foreign minister's plans. On its website, the COC points out that "LGBTs are being oppressed in many countries. Homosexuality is a punishable offence in 85 countries. In seven countries it even carries the death penalty."

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

2 Comments To This Article

  • pepe C posted:

    on 10th April 2011, 19:05:44 - Reply

    Do you have a problem with equal rights for gays, testchimp? In some parts of the world homosexuality is punishable by death. But apparently that is alright to you.
  • testchimp007 posted:

    on 8th April 2011, 20:33:45 - Reply

    So a country (NL) which doesn't allow its own citizen to freely choose partners and actively seeks to curtail their rights is going to go to other parts of the world and tell countries why they should allow their citizens to freely choose whatever partners they want and not curtail their rights? Seems like the arrogance and self-delusion of the Hague knows no limits.... people in glass houses and all that...