Shelter for LGBT Syrian refugees to open in Berlin
A LGBT rights group in Germany is opening a new home in Berlin for gay refugees.
The project by Schwulenberatung Berlin is in cooperation with the city council and will create shelter for over 120 people, reports euronews.com.
The group behind the project say they decided to open the shelter due to abuse gay migrants have suffered in similar hostels – with some being forced to move out.
“They are refugees like any other refugees, but they are also culturally isolated. And they have experienced a lot of violence,” explained Stephan Jaekel, head of the Berlin Homosexual Counsel’s LGBT refugees department.
“It starts with psychological violence. And it goes from verbal expressions of disapproval to discrimination up to physical violence with broken arms, broken noses – even been some murder attempts.
Mahmoud Hassino a 40-year-old gay refugee from Syria – said the new shelter would be a big improvement for LGBT people who had suffered such abuse.
Hassino originally arrived in Germany in 2014, but had to move out of a shelter shortly afterwards due to the hostility of fellow refugees.
Journalists from the Associated Press investigating the problem found scores of documented cases in Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
The abuse usually came from fellow refugees, and sometimes from security staff and translators.
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The AP says the cases suggest a possible cultural clash, as many migrants come from conservative Muslim countries where homosexuality is illegal.
In December, the UK government confirmed that LGBT refugees in Syria will be among ‘at risk’ groups eligible for resettlement in the UK.
David Cameron confirmed in September that the UK would take in 20,000 refugees from the Syria conflict over the next five years – with vulnerable refugees selected from camps in the region.
As the government puts plans together for its Resettlement Scheme, Labour’s Mary Creagh has called for vulnerable LGBT refugees to be given priority alongside other at-risk groups.
After Lib Dem peer Lord Scriven also raised the issue in Parliament, the Home Office this week confirmed that the “vulnerability criteria” for the process will take into account sexual orientation and gender identity.