Members of the Queer community in Kenya shout slogans as they carry placards and gay pride flag during a protest outside Kenya's Ministry of Education in Nairobi, Kenya, 13 January 2022. The Queer community held the protest in reactions after the Kenyan education minister George Magoha made a comment that has sparked controversy after directing that, students engaging in homosexuality be barred from boarding schools | Photo: EPA/DANIEL IRUNGU
Members of the Queer community in Kenya shout slogans as they carry placards and gay pride flag during a protest outside Kenya's Ministry of Education in Nairobi, Kenya, 13 January 2022. The Queer community held the protest in reactions after the Kenyan education minister George Magoha made a comment that has sparked controversy after directing that, students engaging in homosexuality be barred from boarding schools | Photo: EPA/DANIEL IRUNGU

As part of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has underscored the importance of attention to all people forced to flee due to "a specific kind of persecution and discrimination -- people on the run because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics."

As part of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) on May 17, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has underscored the importance of attention to all people forced to flee due to "a specific kind of persecution and discrimination -- people on the run because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics."

He stressed that, "Yet, even as they try to find safety, they often continue to face risks, including violence or sexual abuse. Discrimination is often the one thing LGBTIQ+ refugees cannot leave behind -- in many cases it follows them across borders as they continue to face barriers to finding a safe place to live, a job, or even seeing a doctor."

Same-sex relations still illegal in many countries

"In too many countries it is still illegal to engage in same-sex relationships. In some, doing so is punishable by death. There are countries which have adopted laws that discriminate against LGBTIQ+ people. Some of them refuse - or are unable - to protect those who suffer or are at risk of violence and abuse from gangs or homophobic groups, from their communities, even sometimes from their own families," he said in a statement posted online.

"Confronted with this reality, many LGBTIQ+ people have no choice but to flee," he said.

"This is why UNHCR has redoubled its commitment to protecting the autonomy, agency, and rights of all forcibly displaced and stateless LGBTIQ+ people," he stressed.

'Honour resilience of LGBTIQ+ refugees'

As part of the day, "I honour the resilience of LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum-seekers around the world seeking to rebuild their lives in safety and peace. As I continue to call on countries to keep their doors open to all those in need of refuge, I encourage them to do so also for LGBTIQ+ people forced to flee," the UN commissioner said.

"I want to pay special tribute to the LGTBIQ+ rights organizations -- many led by refugees themselves -- that are on the ground, supporting those seeking protection. These courageous and determined groups are often the first to welcome people who have fled and continue to help them as they adjust to their new communities. But we cannot leave them alone to do this critical work. We each have a responsibility to counter homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia and realize a world where all LGBTIQ+ people do not need to flee and can live — at home — in safety, dignity and with pride," he concluded.

 

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