Refugee and Asylum issues
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) threatens displaced women and girls, as well as men and boys, in all regions of the world. Creating safe environments and mitigating the risk of SGBV can only be achieved by addressing gender inequality and discrimination.
While the scourge of SGBV is receiving much more attention internationally – as illustrated by Security Council Resolutions 1820, 1888 and 1960 – preventing SGBV is a complex challenge. To assist operations in addressing this core protection concern, UNHCR is presenting the Action against Sexual- and Gender-Based Violence: An Updated Strategy.
This strategy provides a structure to assist UNHCR operations in dealing with SGBV on the basis of a multi-sectoral and interagency approach. UNHCR policies and programmes have for many years helped operations to address SGBV in coordination with other actors. 80% of operations in urban settings and 93% in camp settings work with SGBV Standard Operating Procedures which strengthen cooperation between partners. Moreover, support to community-based organisations has given communities a greater sense of ownership in addressing SGBV.
Today’s protection environment is fraught with challenges and filled with opportunities, which should be carefully considered when devising responses. Challenges include the prevalence of impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence, changing gender roles during displacement, and the increasing number of women and children of concern to UNHCR who live in urban areas and face particular protection risks due to their often precarious status. Equally, changing gender roles can also present opportunities for displaced people, as can the recognition by the international community of the essential role of women in peacebuilding, and of the safety and security of civilian populations.
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.
Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights is an international participatory action research project that is studying developments in selected nations that were colonized by the British Empire.
The report (2012) is based on a Round Table Dialogue with members of 14 organizations who work with LGBTI asylum seekers in the Toronto region, as well as two conference presentations. It provides a preliminary overview of the issues for LGBT asylum seekers, including: their experiences and obstacles; ways that service providers are trying to meet their needs; service gaps; and the impact of changes to immigration and refugee laws.
Generelly the projects participants discussed various issues related to LGBT refuge and asylum seekers.
As a important future item they stated that documenting different cultural expressions and increasing the awareness and knowledge on SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) issues in the global south should be an area for action. They also discussed how many lawyers serving immigrants and refugees are not familiar with SOGI issues, including the points raised above about understanding cultural differences. Their lack of expertise in these types of cases has the effect of putting their clients, who are refugees fleeing persecution on the grounds of sexual or gender identity/expression, at a disadvantage because they often aren’t able to properly represent the case.
Overall, there is a lack of LGBT and refugee positive services and programs, as well as insufficient training on LGBT issues. These were identified as areas for further research and recommendations.
The research project's overall recommendations are on page 12-13.
Thousands of LGBTI asylum seekers apply for international protection in Europe each year. The European Union and European States have already taken some concrete and positive steps, such as recognising sexual orientation as a persecution ground in Article 10 of the Qualification Directive.
This report (2011), however, shows that there are considerable differences in the way in which European States examine LGBTI asylum applications. As Europe aims at creating a Common European Asylum System with a uniform status, this is highly problematic. For example, LGB asylum applicants are regularly returned to countries where they have a well-founded fear of being imprisoned or sentenced to death for engaging in sexual activities with a person of the same gender.
A further example is that serious human rights violations against trans people, occurring on a large scale in many parts of the world, often do not lead to asylum. The study treats specific asylum seekers case stories from a broad range of EU countries. It focuses on 8 concrete issues which affect LGBT asylum seekers that apply for international protection: criminalization, State Protection against non-State Persecution, concealment of sexual orientation or gender identity, internal protection, credibility assessment, late disclosure, country of origin Information, reception and detention.
The report includes 9 main recommendations (page 11) and every chapter ends with a conclusion and recommendations.
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 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.