Migration and the Diaspora / Protection of LGBTI Migrants
Around 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 is true even in countries where the legal environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people is relatively progressive. Many feel compelled to flee their homes, seeking safety in another country. Although displacement may provide an opportunity for them to express a profoundly felt personal aspect of their identity that has not been possible or allowed in their country of origin, safety and protection are often elusive in these other countries too, where LGBTI forced migrants are frequently met with unacceptable and sometimes incomprehensible treatment. There is now a growing awareness that full rights should be extended to people whose orientation or identity is not only as a minority in society but has also often been considered taboo, unacknowledged or unaccepted. It seems that it is often impossible to divorce deeply felt social, cultural and religious attitudes from the protection of LGBTI forced migrants. Yet there has been and continues to be rapid change, with radical improvements in many contexts –especially in terms of training of asylum authorities, updating of legislation and improvement in case law. There remain, however, significant challenges and needs.
The full issue is online at:
LGBT: Equally Entitled to Human Rights and Dignity
It was clearly articulated by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a December 2011 address in Geneva:
It is a violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives.And it is a violation of human rights when lifesaving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.
Ensuring protection for LGBTI Persons of Concern
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) asylum seekers and refugees face a myriad of threats, risks and vulnerabilities throughout all stages of the displacement cycle. There needs to be greater awareness not only of the specific protection concerns relating to LGBTI individuals but also of related jurisprudence and guidance available for UN staff, partners, state authorities and decision-makers. At the center of the 1951 Refugee Convention are human dignity, the richness and diversity of human life, and the full expression of individual freedoms. The very purpose of the Convention is the protection of those who manage to flee predicaments that violate their dignity, identity and freedoms. Despite the fact that there was no explicit recognition in the Convention of persecution for reasons of sexual orientation or gender identity, its drafters used broad enough language to cover such instances, notably through the introduction of the ‘membership of a particular social group’ ground. I have no doubt that the framers of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the 1951 Convention were aware of what had happened in Nazi Germany to LGBTI people. People were arrested on suspicion of homosexuality and many were incarcerated in concentration camps. We will never know how many LGBTI persons fled Nazi Germany to avoid ending up in the camps. As homosexuality was – and remains in many societies – a social stigma and a criminal offence, they would have been forced to hide their reasons for flight even in their new countries of asylum. Unfortunately, this remains the situation for LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees in many parts of the world today.
For more information follow this link:
The 2011 Fleeing Homophobia: Asylum Claims Related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Europe report found discretion reasoning still being invoked in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Malta, Poland, Romania, Spain, Norway and Switzerland
For more information follow this link:
Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration
ORAM Opening Doors: A Global Survey of NGO Attitudes Towards LGBTI Refugees & Asylum Seekers, June 2012
Criminalization of same-sex sexual acts around the world In 2012, 78 countries out of 193 still have legislation criminalizing same-sex consensual acts between adults. This is an increase from the previous year (up to 78 from 76).“Though one ‘new entry’ – Benin – is due to our improved knowledge as to the laws of the country, the other entry – South Sudan – represents a real disappointment: one would have hoped that the birth of a new country would have been also the occasion to improve the legislation inherited from the old country the new one was once part of.
ILGA May 2012 Report: State-sponsored Homophobia
Global human rights frameworks applicable to LGBTI migrants
Sexual minorities leave home for a variety of reasons but their departure is often due to the identity based violence, discrimination and harassment they face at the hands of state actors, family and community. Although no international legal instrument exists to specifically protect the human rights of LGBTI individuals, over recent years international legal bodies have interpreted basic human rights provisions to apply to LGBTI populations. Various UN treaty bodies have echoed this message, including the Human Rights Committee which has stated that the principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) apply equally to all without discrimination to LGBTI populations, holding that the reference to ‘sex’ in Article 26 (the ICCPR’s principal anti-discrimination provision) incorporates sexual orientation.
1. Similarly, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the authoritative interpretive body of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – ICESCR) proscribes any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
2. Consequently, States Parties to the ICCPR and the ICESCR must ensure protection of Covenant rights for all LGBTI people, including migrants, within their territories as set out in both treaties. Beyond these international legal protections of LGBTI individuals, regional human rights bodies have also affirmed that human rights law must apply to those discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Most recently, the European Court of Human Rights held that segregating LGBTI detainees violates their human rights and amounts to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment if it deprives them of meaningful access to detention center services or is tantamount to penal solitary confinement.
3. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ jurisprudence has increasingly addressed the human rights of LGBTI people, holding for the first time that the American Convention on Human Rights bars discrimination based on sexual orientation.
4. In addition to these human rights standards, in 2006 a group of legal experts drafted the Yogakarta Principles, guidelines that address how basic human rights tenets relate to sexual minorities.
5. Although these principles are not binding on states, they articulate the primary international law protections for sexual minorities and offer states guidance on best practices for ensuring human rights of LGBTI populations.
For insight follow the links:
Resources for those representing asylum claims on grounds of sexual orientation
The Fahamu Refugee Program’s information portal for those providing legal aid to refugees is expanding its resources for those defending cases based on sexual orientation – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI). To facilitate instant access to the information that lawyers need when preparing an asylum case for adjudication; the Fahamu Refugee Programme is aiming to provide Country of Origin Information for all 192 UN member states. For more info:
For each country this resource will provide specific legislation and case law (where it can be found), plus a section on public attitudes and/ or the state’s capacity to protect LGBTI persons. Each country page will conclude with a list of relevant NGOs (where they exist) and country of-
origin specialists who have agreed to provide statements on the plausibility of individual cases.
European Parliament votes to protect LGBT people in global development
The European Parliament this week voted for a report which will outline its input in the global future development policy, which includes a strong commitment to protect LGBT people, and those living with HIV.
African Groups in the Diaspora
Uganda Gay On Move (UGOM) – Netherlands
In May 2013, a group of LGTB’ers from Uganda came to Secret Garden, in search of support for their cause. The group is growing every day and has become quite large, now. These LGTB’ers found their way to Secret Garden in order to get help. Most of them have run away to the Netherlands, because they couldn’t live openly as homosexuals or lesbians. Their flight was mostly forced, because there was a dangerous climate regarding homosexuality in Uganda.
Uganda Gay on Move (UGoM) Activities
Out and Proud Diamond Group (OPDG)- United Kingdom
OUT AND PROUD DIAMOND GROUP (AFRICAN LGBTI) is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex organisation, Group that sprang from the ashes into international limelight. Previously operating in obscurity under the umbrella of other organisations, it now operates in co-ordination with partners with which it operates on equal terms. Previously with a handful of members from Uganda, the organisation currently boasts about, a hundred plus members, representing a wide cross-section of African countries including Gabon, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Cameroon, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi , Uganda and Jamaica.
Kuchu Diaspora Alliance (KDA)- United States of America
Our mission is to amplify the collective voice of our movement. We work in partnership with local activists to identify and address the needs of LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers. When the anti-homosexuality act was enacted we organized allies in the US and Europe to protest in different cities around the world. Together we are working to ensure that Ugandan LGBT refugees are brought to safety.
Pride Uganda Alliance Interntional (PUAI) – Toronto,Canada
Human Rights GLBTQ advocacy and social community-based support group:
Find Hope (FH)-Sweden
Find Hope (FH) is an initiative by Naome Ruzindana, after one year of field at RFSL Gävleborg, working on Asylum cases and challenges of newcomers in Sweden and other parts of Europe FH.is a none profit Organisation that focuses on LGBT Immigrants and young people that are struggling to understand Gender and Sexual Orientaion.
Naome is a human right activist that has been on a fore front in Africa, She is the first openly gay woman that opened gay organization in Rwanda and fought with the government, society, culture and the policy against the homosexuality issues in Rwanda. Naome was the founder member and the Director of Horizon Community Association in Rwanda for 10 years until 2011 when she left the country. Naome was the Founder member and Secretary General for Coalition of African lesbian for 10 years until 2011 when she left Africa. Naome was the Alternative Co-secretary General for International Gays and Lesbians Association (ILGA World) for 2 years since 2010-2012.