The Dutch Riek Stienstra Honor of 2015 (Reverend Wielie Elhorst and UGOM rose as winners of this honor)


“Uganda Gay On Move (UGOM)’s 2 years and six months work can be visualized in this honor. The Riek Stienstra Prize(Award or honour) of 2015 was given last week to two outstanding human rights defending performers in the Netherlands. One went to Rev. Wielie Elhorst of Protestantse church in The Netherlands and another went to Uganda Gay On Move, a group of LGBTIQ human rights defenders in the Netherlands”

Uganda Gay On Move (UGOM) made it to the Dutch achieves when nominated and won the Riek Stienstra award of 2015 4th of June 2015 for its great impact made in the area of advocacy, emancipation and empowerment of LGBTIQ community especially in the Netherlands for the last two years. This has come at the time when the human rights violations towards the most marginalised is on rise around the globe. It is a dedication to our fore father the late David Kato Kisuule and those that have fought so hard to bring a change. Reverend Wielie Elhorst of Protestantse Kerk in The Netherlands was another person awarded with the same honor that same evening for his great work towards the betterment of LGBTIQ community in the Netherlands.

This event was a congregation of various persons from and outside the Netherlands, representatives of different religions to Discuss sexual Diversity and religion.

Examples of David Bos who is working at the VU University and the University of Amsterdam. He Has published many publications on the acceptance of homosexuality among Moroccan and Dutch Protestant and currently he is working on a study (VU University and Utrecht) to public debates on religion and homosexuality.

Dr. Ludovic Zahed who is known as Europe’s first openly gay imam. Zahed is a
influential activist and advocates gender equality and liberalism. Zahed is Convinced
That it is possible to create a representation of the inclusive Islam, liberating
and peaceful. In his speech, he shared his views on the shared values of the
Islam and the West Concerning gender equality. He was Consulted as an expert on his
discipline by the British court (2012) and by the French Senate (2013).

The Riek Stienstra * Lecture 2015  was organized from the project “I Believe I Am Gay” by photographers duo Hadas Itzkovitch and Anya van Lit in collaboration with the Biblical Museum and COC Netherlands.

The festive closing event of I Believe I Am Gay will take place on 14 June from 15.00  (until 17.00) at the museum (Herengracht 366-368 Amsterdam) .One should take the opportunity to visit the exhibition one more time before it travels abroad outside the Netherlands.


History and background about Riek Stienstra honour(Award)

Was a Dutch campaigner for the right to psychosocial care for gay men and lesbian women with HIV. Born on Dec 24, 1942, in Boornbergum, Friesland, she died from colon cancer in Boornbergum on Nov 20, 2007, aged 64 years.

Riek Stienstra was already involved in psychotherapy and counselling for homosexual communities when HIV made its first inroads into the Netherlands in 1982. At the time, she headed the cryptically named Organisation and Consultancy Bureau, which provided information services for gay and lesbian women, but immediately recognised the potential threat of the disease. “She took HIV very seriously and even went to the USA herself to see what was happening”, says Peter van Rooijen, Executive Director of International Civil Society Support in the Netherlands and former Executive Director of Aids Fonds and STOP AIDS NOW!, who first met Stienstra in 1985 when she hired him as a psychotherapist. “It was inevitable. Since her mission was to support gay men and lesbian women, embracing HIV is something she needed to do.”


Stienstra’s background in the women’s liberation movement enabled her to bring important techniques to HIV/AIDS activism. “She knew how you make networks, how oppression works, why you shouldn’t hide away, being proud, stepping forward, and demanding the right to do so”, explains van Rooijen. “She was an icon in the gay and lesbian movement.”

After training as a social worker during the late 1960s, Stienstra moved rapidly into organised activism and, in 1974, became director at the Schorer Foundation, a Dutch activist group focused on ensuring that gay, bisexual, and transgender people have access to the information and facilities they need for good health and wellbeing. According to Minus Altenburg, who became Acting Director of the Foundation when Stienstra retired, in 2002, Stienstra took Schorer from being just a small local agency to become one of the biggest health promotion organisations in Europe. “Riek put health and welfare for lesbian women and homosexual men on the map”, says Altenburg.

Describing her as “a no-nonsense negotiator”, Altenburg says one of Stienstra’s main achievements at Schroer was to establish the first “buddy projects” in the Netherlands. Adapted from a similar scheme in the USA, this project started as a social guidance for people with HIV and AIDS, providing free home-care help and support, and then further expanded to also provide guidance for elderly gay women and men.

Van Rooijen recalls Stienstra’s strong character, and how that helped push forward the cause. “She was a real leader. Riek knew what she wanted. She was definitely the boss. You could get close to her but it was always obvious that she was in charge”, he says. “She was there all the time, she stayed around when it was difficult and was there in the end. Not bossy, but her power and her credits spoke for themselves”, he says.


In addition to her directorship at Schorer, Stienstra maintained several positions with advisory councils and other organisations, such as Mama Cash, an international women’s fund, and was also part of an advisory group reporting to the Dutch Ministry of Health on women’s health issues, something van Rooijen believes may have been her most widely applicable work. In her farewell year at the Schorer Foundation, in 2002, Stienstra received the royal accolade of the Order of Orange-Nassau and it was only shortly after this achievement that her cancer was detected. In her last years, says Altenburg, she was surrounded by what she called her “mantelzorgnetwerk [volunteer AIDS network]” and these friends stayed with Riek until her untimely death.

Her great achievement, concur van Rooijen and Altenburg, was putting psychosocial support on the agenda in HIV/AIDS. “Thanks to her there was a clear right to this care from the beginning”, says van Rooijen. “She helped spread the understanding that next to prevention and medical care we needed to develop psychosocial care. It was thanks to her that it happened that fast and in such an integrated way”, he says.


More is yet to be achieved, the journey has just began. Great thanks Hadas Itzkovitch and Anya van Lit masterminds of “I BELIEVE I AM GAY” for all their input.

“Human rights is our pride”



ADVICE: CROSSING THE BORDER (Border detention of asylum seekers in the light of human rights standards )

Foreign nationals who enter the Netherlands through an airport or seaport and do not have
the correct travel documents or sufficient means of support are not granted access to the
Netherlands. Some of these refused foreign nationals are asylum seekers who ask for
protection in the Netherlands. This study refers to this group of asylum seekers. In order to
avoid that they enter the Netherlands further asylum seekers are detained in the Schiphol
Criminal Justice Complex, the so-called border detention. The Netherlands Institute for
Human Rights has investigated how the detention of these asylum seekers relates to human
rights standards.

Under certain conditions the Netherlands has the power to limit the freedom of foreign
nationals in the context of migration. However, this power is restricted to human rights
standards. It follows from these standards that a country may only detain asylum seekers if
there are no other, less drastic means and detention is absolutely necessary. In practice all
asylum seekers who ask for protection at the border are standard detained by the
Netherlands and there is no weighing of interests before the detention measure is
imposed. As a result the human rights of these asylum seekers, such as the right of
freedom and the right of protection, are at stake.

The state secretary for Security and Justice states that border detention is necessary. In
the first place because the Netherlands has to guard the external border of the Schengen
area. In the second place to safeguard (financial) claims against transporters, often airline
companies, for the return of a rejected asylum seeker.
The Institute concludes that these reasons are not convincing to substantiate the necessity
of the automatic border detention of all asylum seekers who enter the Netherlands through
an airport or seaport.
For example, the European obligation to guard the European external borders on the basis
of the Schengen Border Code does not prescribe that asylum seekers are refused and
detained at the border; this Schengen Border Code gives room to member states to grant
access to asylum seekers in order to investigate whether they actually need protection.
Furthermore, there are other countries within the Schengen area that do not standard
refuse asylum seekers and detain them. These countries apparently do not interpret the
Schengen Border Code as strictly as the Netherlands. In addition, figures show that the
current practice of border detention hardly contributes to the intended objective, that is
to say, preventing that they are granted access to the Netherlands and hence to the
Schengen area. The majority of asylum seekers are nonetheless still granted access to the
Netherlands after the expiry of the period in border detention. Furthermore, border
detention is not necessary for effectuating claims on behalf of transport companies on the
basis of the current practice.


The Institute is of the opinion that the current policy, in which the border detention of
asylum seekers is general practice, is not consistent with the international commitments as
laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European
Convention for Human Rights, the Convention on Refugees, the International Convention
on the Rights of the Child and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and
European directives regarding the asylum procedure and reception of asylum seekers.
These human rights conventions and European directives set strict conditions on detaining
asylum seekers. Detention is only allowed in exceptional cases when it is necessary and
only after an individual balance of interests has been made in which the interests of the
government to keep sight on asylum seekers and, if necessary, supervise them, are
balanced against the interests of the asylum seeker in question. In this respect it should be

considered that detention is a very drastic means and that it has a negative effect on the
health and well-being of asylum seekers. In addition, asylum seekers may suffer
disadvantages in their procedures from going through their asylum procedure in detention.
There may also be personal circumstances, such as sickness and traumas, so that detention
should not take place. With regard to children there are very strict conditions, because in
general the interest of children should prevail in relation to the interest to detain them
when the various interests are weighed.
Article 6 of the Foreign National Act offers room to weigh the interests when deciding
whether or not to impose a border detention measure. However, in practice this possibility
is not used.
On the basis of the findings and conclusions of this investigation the Institute makes the
following recommendations.

􀂾 Do not impose standard border detention on all asylum seekers who enter the
Netherlands through an airport or seaport.
􀂾 Restrict this freedom-depriving measure to cases in which there are concrete
circumstances that indicate a risk for public safety or national security.
􀂾 When it is necessary to check the identity of an asylum seeker and/or when the basis of
an asylum request has to be established (more specifically), the freedom of asylum
seekers may be restricted for a short period. At present a so-called initial assessment
already takes place when the asylum seeker arrives at the airport or seaport, whereby
his/her identity is established, among other things. At present this initial assessment is
carried out now by the Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary. This initial phase
could, if necessary, be transformed, whereby the involvement of the Immigration and
Naturalisation Service (IND) is guaranteed for a further establishment of the identity,
nationality and basis of the asylum request, after which a further restriction of
freedom is not necessary anymore.
􀂾 If there are any circumstances on the basis of which supervision or restriction of
freedom is at issue, the various interests should always be weighed before a detention
measure is imposed:
o provide an actual framework for the ultimate remedy nature of border detention
and apply alternatives, if possible, such as a deposit or obligation to report;
o in any case let vulnerable persons qualify for less drastic measures than border
o place families with children in open housing units that are especially intended for
this purpose.

Netherlands Institute of Human rights