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Make Asylum for Cuban LGBTIs Easier

by Redaktie in History & Politics , 24 April 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

In a letter to Mark Harbers of Asylum (VVD), COC Netherlands calls on the state secretary to make getting asylum in the Netherlands easier for LGBTIs from Cuba. According to the gay interest organization, the situation of LGBTIs in the Central American country is still very poor.

In recent years in The Netherlands, a relatively large number of Cubans have applied for asylum, including quite a few LGBTIs. As far as is known, the IND has not yet granted one asylum application from these Cuban LGBTI asylum seekers.

The COC writes to the State Secretary that LGBTI people in Cuba are still being oppressed, threatened and abused. In certain cases, their lives are at risk even. The Cuban police harass LGBTIs, general legislation is used to punish LGBTIs, and the police often do not offer LGBTIs protection. LGBTI are also often discriminated against by fellow citizens.

In the letter, the COC describes, among other things, the horrific situation in which many trans women live in Cuba. A transwoman who recently fled to The Netherlands, for instance, was abused on the street and pelted with stones. Instead of offering her protection, the Cuban police fined her for wearing women's clothes. She was beaten, shaved, imprisoned for a year, and raped several times by a fellow prisoner. When calling for help, she was mistreated by prison guards.

A lesbian woman was arrested several times because she was walking in the street with her girlfriend. Another lesbian woman received approximately 30 warnings from the Cuban police. The local policeman kept a file on her and threatened to imprison her if reported on again.

Some are under the impression that the situation for LGBTIs on Cuba is 'not that bad'. With her organization CENESEX, the Cuban president's daughter Mariela Castro sometimes gives the impression that she is standing up for LGBTIs. According to various sources, however, CENESEX only gives lip service to LGBTIs; in reality it is a product of the state propaganda machine to polish up Cuba's international image. Activists and other LGBTIs who do not join CENESEX or who are critical, are oppressed, while at times their lives are at risk.

COC Netherlands is asking the State Secretary to give Cuban LGBTIs the 'risk group’ or 'vulnerable minority group' status, making it easier for them to apply for asylum in the Netherlands.



In our youngest issue, Gay News 344, April/ May/ June 2020


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