Friday, 15 April 2011

LGBT Asylum News appeal: please consider a donation

LGBT Asylum News has been described as "invaluable", "indispensable" and "an essential service" - Now we need your support and donations. Producing the website does come with a cost and here's where you can help.

Ugandan refugee and co-founder of the Lesbian Immigration Support Group, Prossy Kakooza, says:
"When I was an asylum seeker looking for support, I found people and groups who were able to help me navigate the labyrinth of the asylum process. And I found them through LGBT Asylum News"
Please consider making a donation via PayPal to account or make a direct payment to Halifax Bank of Scotland, sort code: 111431 account #: 00105866 Note: If they use a credit or debit card on PayPal there will be a small fee. You can decide to pay this or pass it on.

Here's how we describe what we do:
We document the situations in countries from which LGBT people are fleeing hoping for a safe haven and the problems they can face from the asylum system in many countries.
We know this helps LGBT people gain their right of sanctuary.

Stories featured on LGBT Asylum News regularly feature elsewhere online, we're a source for the reference website plus we're asked for comment.

In the background, we also help individuals and refer on the many enquiries we get, often from desperate people.

Since we were established in January 2008 to help save 19yo gay Iranian Mehdi Kazemi from deportation to execution by the British government, our audience across web, email, social media and other routes has grown to c250k in 2010.

See below for testimony about the value of LGBT Asylum News

Now we need your support. Producing the website does come with a cost and here's where you can help.

Please consider making a donation via PayPal to account or make a direct payment to Halifax Bank of Scotland, sort code: 111431 account #: 00105866 Note: If they use a credit or debit card on PayPal there will be a small fee. You can decide to pay this or pass it on.

Thank you. Your support is greatly appreciated.

What others have to say about LGBT Asylum News

"LGBT Asylum News was an invaluable source of information, analysis and context for a campaign that our organization ran - and won - on behalf of a Ugandan lesbian asylum seeker in the UK. And the website over all is a thorough and excellent source of information on issues relating to LGBT asylum seekers, not to mention important but sometimes hard to find LGBT news from the global south. I can't imagine the web, or the work of countless activists and campaigners who depend on this information, without it."
Joseph Huff-Hannon, Campaigner, All Out
"As a professor of European asylum law and practice, I find LGBT Asylum News an indispensable source of information on issues relating to LGBT asylum seekers and the LGBT community's response. Its worldwide coverage of LGBT asylum issues is unique on the net, and it manages to balance LGBT advocacy with objective, serious reporting. It should also be the place of first reference for anyone assisting LGBT asylum seekers. It is a great asset for activists, service providers, and academics alike."
"Just as the Iranian LGBT are silenced and have no voice inside Iran, the LGBT who are left with no choice but to run away and take refuge in the West have no voice if they're not picked up and written about by those reporters who care for for the life and well-being of the LGBT. The LGBT Asylum News was first launched when in IRQO we were worrying over the the fate of Mehdi (Kazemi), who was lucky enough to be heard and defended and eventually accepted as refugee. The weblog has served so many times since, to defend LGBT asylum seeker and so many times I have counted on this weblog to send word out about a life-threatening situation of an Iranian queer who was just stuck in the complicated procedures of seeking asylum, or a scary fate in Iran. Thank you Paul and the team."
Saghi Ghahraman, President, Iranian Queer Organization
"It has been a real honor to be associated with LGBT Asylum News and also for being a contributor to its news. It has been my one stop source for news, events, highlights and updates on LGBT, sex workers, asylum seekers, and a host of other people. Its coverage is surprisingly wide, divergent and concrete making it an authority in human rights reporting, LGBT issues and asylum developments. Through the concerted efforts of its editor Paul Canning and a team of contributors who share stories and information, I can scarcely believe the impact it has had and the small number of people working behind the scenes at LGBT Asylum to bring all this to you. It shows how small things can have great impact. I am glad that this rings true for LGBT Asylum. Our support would greatly help."
Denis Nzioka, Editor, Gay Kenya
"LGBT Asylum News is always our first port of call for the latest news, information and advice to support the rights of LGBT people seeking sanctuary. We are a national organisation providing advice and information on migrant and asylum rights, and in the last year we have been increasingly calling upon the resources at LGBT Asylum News. Changes in UK legislation have brought more legal challenges, and more LGBT people coming to us for help, making LGBT Asylum News an essential service for us at NCADC."
Michael Collins, Campaigns Coordinator, National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns
"As the Asylum Documentation Project Coordinator for the National Immigrant Justice Center - A Heartland Alliance Partner,  I deal with LGBT/HIV documentation on a daily basis. With LGBT Asylum News, busting on line in January 2008, I have seen a very vigorous, dynamic, up to date site grow to place itself among the leading sites in the internet for up to the minute LGBT/HIV news and information.  They are right on top of every issue concerning the LGBT/HIV immigrant community worldwide."
Dusty Araujo, Asylum Documentation Coordinator, National Asylum Partnership on Sexual Minorities, National Immigrant Justice Center

"My name is Prossy Kakooza. I am a refugee from Uganda who claimed asylum on the basis of my sexuality. In Uganda it’s 7-14 years imprisonment for LGBT people. I was arrested, gang raped and burnt really badly all over my body. I reached UK within days of this happening. I went to an NHS walk in centre but my injuries were so bad they called the police. I was taken to a rape referral centre where the doctors agreed that my injuries corresponded with my story. But I was still refused asylum with my injuries dismissed as a ‘’random attack by unruly policemen’’. So I made the difficult decision to start a campaign."

"It was a tough time for me as I didn’t know where or who to turn to. A friend suggested starting a campaign but other than the idea we didn’t know how to go about it. But when we checked online we found the LGBT Asylum news website. They had already conducted a successful campaign for Mehdi Kazemi. So the site had invaluable information about how to conduct a successful campaign. We contacted Paul Canning who runs the website and he was so personally involved and helpful with my campaign and made it gain momentum. I conducted a successful campaign, mostly because this site supported me and publicised my campaign and helped me to make it international."

"When you’re in the asylum system, it’s paramount to know what’s going on in your country and around the world. Something could happen somewhere and it will have a huge impact on your case. News concerning everything else like war/political issues, is normally on the news on TV or you can easily find on line. But there are no sites that give up to date information specifically about LGBT issues over the world apart from the LGBT Asylum news website. It gives news as it happens or soon after. Being up to date could mean the difference between you being given refugee status or deported. Recently there has been a few sites that offer help to LGBT asylum seekers. But they’re not easy to find. It’s through their advertisement on the LGBT asylum news website that you can find them. It’s the best source of information and it’s easy to find."

"Before the LGBT asylum news website, there was a lot of misconception about not only asylum seekers in general but mostly LGBT immigration. When I was doing my campaign I found many people did not know it was illegal to be gay in over 70 countries. This site has really helped raise awareness of the plight of LGBT people all over the world, and it continues to do so."

"When I arrived in UK, for a long time I felt isolated. I didn’t know anybody in a similar situation as me, and I couldn’t relate to anyone. So the LGBT asylum news is great because it offers stories about other LGBT asylum seekers going through the system. After reading the stories of people in similar situations, I didn’t feel so alone anymore."

"Most people who seek asylum do not speak English at all. And having spoken to a lot of people about this, I know they find it difficult to find useful information online about help for LGBT asylum seekers. But LGBT asylum news offers the option of translating into different languages and this really helps non-English speaking LGBT asylum seekers."

"After my campaign was successful, me and a few people who helped me with my campaign decided to start a support group in Manchester. There were a few support groups for all LGBT people. But most women found it hard to open up in the presence of men. So we formed a group called Lesbian Immigration Support Group. But we needed to advertise the group to reach a wider range of people who could use our help. We got in touch with Paul who runs the site and he put information about our group on the LGBT Asylum news website. We got contacted by a lot of women who had heard about our group through the site. Which I was not surprised by, because when I was an asylum seeker and I needed to find support, it was through this website that I found support groups."

"And Paul Canning has been really helpful to our group. He visited our group and gave us helpful tips on how to run a successful website. At the moment he’s in the process of helping us build our website."
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