Netherlands Refuses Asylum Permits for LGBTI From Cuba

​The Dutch minister of justice and security has lawfully denied asylum permits for three transgender persons from Cuba.

The Administrative Law Department of the Council of State ruled on 4 July that Justice and Security Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus was legally correct to deny asylum permits to three transgender persons from Cuba.

The foreigners say that they cannot return to Cuba because they would be persecuted there. On paper, it looks like Cuba is a progressive country, but according to the applicants, the rights of lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI) are not respected in practice.

Grapperhaus sees the situation in Cuba differently and therefore refused to grant asylum permits.

Improvements in LGBTI situation in Cuba

In its judgment, the Administrative Law Department said that the documents submitted in the case do not show that the situation for LGBTI people in Cuba is so poor that they are being persecuted as a group.

The situation for LGBTI people is not easy, but has improved considerably in recent years. For example, the authorities have allowed the gay pride and a demonstration for gay marriage, and gender reassignment operations are possible.

It is true that the documents also show that LGBTI people are not always accepted by society and are an easy target for intolerance, discrimination, abuse and violence, but the documents do not show that the way in which the authorities promote the rights of LGBTI people is insincere.

LGBTI people can also complain to government institutions about police mistreatment and other problems.

Functioning socially

Furthermore, the foreign nationals failed to prove that they had faced arrest and fines for the sole reason that they are part of the LGBTI community.

The police, for example, visit places where LGBTI people meet because those places are also known as zones where prostitution is practiced. There are also legal clubs for LGBTI where they can meet.

It is therefore not the case, the Administrative Law Department said, that the foreigners are so severely limited in their daily lives that they cannot function socially, and there was thus no legal obligation on the minister to grant the asylum permits.