Refugee and Asylum issues

Guidelines and reports on international protection of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers.


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UNHCR guidance note on refugee claims relating to sexual orientation and gender identity UNHCR guidance note on refugee claims relating to sexual orientation and gender identity

Date added: 08/14/2012
Date modified: 08/14/2012
Filesize: 231.35 kB
Downloads: 789

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Protection Policy and Legal Advice Section Division of International Protection Services Geneva.

This Note provides guidance in respect of refugee claims related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

The persecution of people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity is not a new phenomenon. It is only in more recent years that a growing number of asylum claims has been made by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) individuals. This has necessitated greater awareness among decision-makers of the specific experiences of LGBT asylum-seekers and a deeper examination of the legal questions involved.

Through analyzing international legal principles, jurisprudence and other relevant materials, these Guidance Notes from UNHCR seek to clarify applicable law and legal standards with the aim of providing guidance in the particular thematic area concerned. The ultimate purpose is to enhance the delivery of protection to refugees and asylum-seekers through adherence to international standards in refugee protection.

When related to refugee status determination, the Guidance Notes supplement and should be read in conjunction with the relevant Guidelines on International Protection. The Guidance Notes are developed to respond to emerging operational needs and legal issues and do not necessarily follow the same extensive drafting process as the Guidelines on International Protection.

Rainbow bridges. Rainbow bridges.

Date added: 08/15/2012
Date modified: 09/03/2012
Filesize: 301.43 kB
Downloads: 1488

ORAM_Rainbow_bridgesA community guide to rebuilding the lives of LGBTI refugees and asylees.

In a 2012 report, ORAM estimates that:

• 175,000 LGBTI persons are in peril in their home countries worldwide

• 7,500 manage to escape

• Of these, only 750 are able to access the refugee protection system

• Of those, only 350 are officially recognized as refugees

• Fewer than 200 per year worldwide currently attain resettlement based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

While the actual numbers of LGBTI persons who escape persecution will never be known, those resettled based on their sexual orientation or gender identity make up a tiny handful worldwide.

This estimate does not include those who do not reveal their LGBTI status to adjudicators, or who receive refugee protection on other grounds — race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in another particular social group.

Disturbing knowledge Disturbing knowledge

Date added: 12/19/2012
Date modified: 12/19/2012
Filesize: 532.64 kB
Downloads: 1175

This study from 2009 concerns decisions from asylum cases as documentation of persecution of LGBTpersons. All cases were extracted in which the asylum seeker has discussed her or his sexual orientation or gender identity or charges for being homosexual.


Forced Migration Review Forced Migration Review

Date added: 05/01/2013
Date modified: 05/01/2013
Filesize: 3.35 MB
Downloads: 2240

Forced MigrationAround the world, people face abuse, arbitrary arrest, extortion, violence, severe discrimination and lack of official protection because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This latest issue from April 2013 includes 26 articles on the abuse of rights of forced migrants who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex. Authors discuss both the challenges faced and examples of good practice in securing protection for LGBTI forced migrants.

Invisible in the City Invisible in the City

Date added: 05/16/2013
Date modified: 05/16/2013
Filesize: 3.35 MB
Downloads: 946

Invisible in the CityFive years ago, there was little discussion of the challenges of LGBTI refugees; today HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) and other refugee/human rights agencies—with full support of the UNHCR—are blazing the trail for enhanced protection of sexual-minority refugees. This report is the result of a one-year qualitative and quantitative research project conducted by HIAS on sexual minority refugees in the urban centers of Ecuador, Ghana, Israel, and Kenya. During the course of the research, interviews were conducted with sexual minority refugees, refugee protection professionals, and sexual minority civil society organizations.

The 43-page report presents the protection gaps facing sexual minority refugees and asylum seekers and offers recommendations for mitigating these gaps.

Addressing this, the report recommends:

  1. UNHCR and refugee NGOs must conduct outreach to sexual minority refugees where they live and work.
  2. UNHCR, governments, and resettlement countries must implement mechanisms to expedite the registration, claim evaluation, and resettlement of at-risk sexual minority refugees.
  3. UNHCR, government agencies, refugee NGOs, service providers, and sexual minority and refugee advocates must coordinate protection strategies and build referral pathways to ensure the greater protection of sexual minority refugees.
  4. UNHCR, government agencies, refugee NGOs, and service providers must regularly train all levels of staff on sensitively serving and protecting sexual minority refugees, and take other steps to create welcoming environments for sexual minorities.
  5. Donors should prioritize funding safe shelter options for sexual minority refugees in urban environments.

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