WHAT ARE OUR LGBT FRIENDS FLEEING FROM?
For LGBT refugees the world can be a hateful place and the thought of a safe haven is all but a fairytale. A shocking 77 countries criminalize same-sex acts. In many of them, imprisonment awaits. In others, the death penalty looms.
LGBT refugees are escaping persecution, violence, and sexual assault. But they flee not only from the police force and legislation where it is illegal to be gay. They are also escaping from their friends and families who become violent, evict them, and banish them from their communities.
Those who can, try to find safer shores. That brings other dangers. LGBT refugees are not like other refugees. They are seen as outcasts and face discrimination and persecution at the hands of other refugees in camps. Some are evicted from refugee camps as a result of social and cultural discrimination.
Imagine having to flee and then having to escape from the place you thought would shelter and protect you! We must open our eyes to what is happening to our LGBT friends!
ILLEGAL TO BE GAY
PUNISHABLE BY DEATH
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QUICK REMINDER: WHAT IS A REFUGEE?
A refugee is somebody who has been forced to flee their country due to war or well-founded fear of persecution. A refugee is unable to protect him or herself from harm being inflicted by State or non-State actors as a result of his or her membership to a particular social group. State actors can include police officers and government officials. Non-State actors can include members of their family, neighbors, armed groups, criminal gangs and vigilantes.
Now read the facts and stories heard around the world from our LGBT community
FACTRUSSIAN POLITICS HAVE BUILT AN ‘IDEALOGICAL WALL’ TO THE WEST AND THE BACKLASH AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS FOR LGBT PEOPLE IS SPREADING BEYOND ITS BORDERS.“It didn’t and doesn’t matter if you are gay, or if others simply believe you are because of the way you walk, talk, dress or behave.”
SUBHI - SYRIA“In Tijuana, the police raped and beat me. [Then] the police told me if they saw me again in the city they would kill me.”
LAURA - TRANS WOMAN, CENTRAL AMERICA
FACTMORE THAN 10 LESBIANS ARE ATTACKED IN “CORRECTIVE RAPES” EVERY WEEK IN SOUTH AFRICA DESPITE GAY MARRIAGE BEING LEGAL.
HOW UNHCR IS HELPING
UNHCR has raised the curtains for the persecuted members of the LGBT community to register as refugees. It’s a right that should be extended to any person in dire need.
Since this change in 2012, UNHCR officially recognizes the unique hardships this community faces within the asylum system. In response, UNHCR trains all field workers on how to avoid stereotypes, use respectful means of communication, and employ sensitive interview techniques.
A special emphasis is placed on physical security and safety for all people who cite persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Measures of prevention and response are in place to avoid abuse and exploitation including sexual and gender-based violence and are ensured by UNHCR.
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT
We must stop turning our backs on LGBT refugees! Now is the time to speak up and drive attention to their plights. Show them that there are people — like you! — who stand by them.