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Berlin to open LGBT refugee shelter after attacks

By Ben Kelly

A special centre is to be created for 125 LGBT refugees in Berlin, after repeated instances of them being attacked by other refugees in their current accommodation.

Schwulenberatung, a Berlin-based gay rights organisation, have estimated there are around 3,500 LGBT asylum seekers in Berlin, many of whom have been experiencing abuse in their temporary shelters.

Speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Stephan Jakel – Schwulenberatung manager in charge of refugee affairs – said, “We have heard a lot of stories about discrimination and crimes against LGBT people in the last two years. They were frightened and scared after being beaten or spat on, and one survived a murder attempt. We heard a lot of horrible stories.”

“Refugees have been coming to our centre over the last few years asking for help,” he added, before announcing that his organisation aims to open the shelter in March.

Between August and December 2015, there were 95 cases of violence against LGBT people in Germany, mostly in accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers, according to the Lesbian and Gay Federation (LSVD).

This follows a case in December 2015 when several gay men had to be removed from refugee shelters in Amsterdam, because of homophobic attacks from other residents.

In the current crisis of people fleeing the civil war in Syria, Germany has taken more refugees than any other European country – an estimated 1.1 million in the year to January 2016.

With LGBT people being executed by ISIS in both Syria and Iraq, there is a substantial amount of them within the influx of European refugees.