HIAS Statement in Recognition of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

On International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, we must remember all the asylum seekers and refugees who are in need of international protection because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Too often, LGBTI refugees—who have already fled targeted discrimination and violence in their countries of origin—find their access to humanitarian assistance curtailed by prejudice and many are afraid to seek assistance because of homophobia, transphobia or biphobia.

No one should have to fear for their personal safety or have their human rights ignored simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We will continue to work with our partners around the world to ensure sexual minority refugees are treated fairly, and to eliminate homophobia, transphobia and biphobia through training and education.

Despite our efforts to create welcoming environments for sexual minorities in countries of asylum, many find it impossible to safely integrate where they are. In these cases, resettlement to a third country is an important escape route. We urge countries like the U.S. and Canada to continue to keep their doors open to these vulnerable populations and are thankful to our partners across the U.S. who have welcomed sexual minority refugees to their new homes.

We are proud of the work we have done with partners to create opportunities for LGBTI refugees to live in safety. While we recognize how far we have come together, we are mindful of the necessary work ahead to ensure true safe haven for all. In the meantime, we honor the efforts, including of sexual minority refugees themselves, to ensure no one is denied the opportunity to live in freedom and dignity because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

For more on the challenges facing sexual minority refugees and asylum seekers, see our report: INVISIBLE IN THE CITY: Protection Gaps Facing Sexual Minority Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Urban Ecuador, Ghana, Israel, and Kenya

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