Ter Apel – The Egyptian trans asylum seeker Zee has been staying in the VBL in Ter Apel for 8 months and 4 days, of which 7 months were illegal. VBL is the abbreviation for the Freedom Restricting Location in Ter Apel, where asylum seekers stay in poor conditions while awaiting deportation. In December 2021, the Council of State decided, after an objection to her rejection by LGBT Asylum Support and her lawyer, that she is entitled to shelter pending the decision. However, despite several reports by LGBT Asylum Support about unsafe situations, violation of almost all house rules by fellow residents, but also discrimination by security guards who laughed at her and co-workers of COA who kept addressing her as a man, all reports were not followed up in order to place her in regular reception. Something she is legally entitled to. It was only after the 15th complaint that COA, after investigating the complaint by its own legal department, decided to move Zee. However, she was transferred to an asylum seekers’ centre where she would only be placed in a unit together with men, which did not offer her any privacy or reason to refuse this transfer. Moreover, LGBT Asylum Support has reported negatively on this azc before. In 2021, a trans asylum seeker was severely assaulted in this asylum seekers’ centre by a fellow housemate who stood on her head and the other residents stood around her in a circle, clapping. Later this month, a court case will follow about this terrible mistreatment where this trans asylum seeker received insufficient protection. Zee: “I am terrified to even leave my unit or go through security.
“Apart from being terrified, she is also completely exhausted,” Sandro Kortekaas, chairperson of LGBT Asylum Support, also blamed the fact that she was able to return to the procedure after the IND refused to believe her and rejected her asylum application. “Eight months in a VBL is a nightmare, especially when security guards laugh at her and nothing is done with these complaints, while the government has an exemplary role in this.
COA has given Zee an ultimatum to leave the location where she is currently staying within 48 hours. If not, she will be out on the street on Sunday. Kortekaas: “In our last fire letter to State Secretary Eric van der Burg, we pointed out precisely how structural the problems are for trans-frontier asylum seekers. All too often, only the ‘M’ in the registration is examined and specific care is not provided. As Zee’s painful situation shows. This is unacceptable from the point of view of a caring society, despite the capacity problems at COA.