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Sunday, 11 September 2011

Paper: LGBT refugees looking for protection and safety: Challenges in refugee status determination and living conditions in Turkey.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ...Image via Wikipedia
By Giulia Cragnolini

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows particular concern towards the protection risks of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals fleeing persecution, even though they represent a small part of the refugee claimants worldwide. As there is no place in the world where LGBT people can live without encountering problems The first challenge for LGBT applying for international protection is represented by the refugee status determination (RSD) process, as this is still an evolving area of international refugee law, ensuring protection and safety for LGBT asylum seekers and refugees is very problematic. Indeed, due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBT threaten established gender norms that rigidly shape every society and are rooted in prejudices

The first challenge for LGBT applying for international protection is represented by the refugee status determination (RSD) process, as this is still an evolving area of international refugee law, ensuring protection and safety for LGBT asylum seekers and refugees is very problematic. Indeed, due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBT threaten established gender norms that rigidly shape every society and are rooted in prejudices.

In particular, due to the intimate nature of LGBT claims and the difficulty that examiners can have to fully understand them, LGBT people might experience particularly hard time to have their instances recognized. The complexity of this process is explained in this paper with reference to UNHCR legal instruments, scholars contributions and legal decisions. The focus is mainly on gays and lesbians claims, as they constitute the majority, resulting in the more developed jurisprudence. Where information is available, limited reference is made to bisexual and transgender people, recognizing that specific studies are needed in the future.

While hosted in the country of asylum, LGBT might continue to face discriminations in their daily life, as in the case of Turkey. After fleeing persecution in their countries they find themselves in an environment hostile towards LGBT people that constitutes an "unsafe heaven" for them. LGBT asylum seekers and refugees residing in Kayseri as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) confirm the harsh living conditions of this community in Turkey. Indeed, while LGBT asylum seekers are likely to find international protection from UNHCR, they are not able to find safety, both in physical and psychological terms.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Refugees Looking for Protection and Safety. Challenges in Re...
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