Today is World Refugee Day. At African Human Rights Coalition we honor all refugees around the world, for their courage and resolve.
Refugees are just like you and me, yet have been displaced due to circumstances outside of their control. They have no ulterior motive other than wanting to live in safety and peace, and in a place that they can call home. LGBT refugees want to live openly without shame around their sexuality.
We must remember that refugees are resourceful, skilled and ready to live as productive a life as anyone else. Unfortunately the prevailing circumstances often keep refugees in a limbo, pending resettlement, for lengthy periods of time.
African LGBT refugees are among the most marginalized of refugees. They are currently living in very difficult circumstances, whether in camps or urban areas. They have to hide who they are for fear of reprisal by other straight refugees or local police authorities, which consider them criminal just for being gay, lesbian, bi or transgender. Many have sought to escape physical and emotional violence and abuse, yet Even as refugees, they continue to be at physical risk, with many having been assaulted by police, locals and other refugees. For some its still a matter of life or death.
At African Human Rights Coalition we are committed to working with our partners and UNHCR to ensure that LGBT refugees survive these very difficult circumstances, that they are empowered to be productive during their lengthy process, and enabled in a way that they can contribute to their own path.
We look to you for your support so that refugees are not forced unwillingly into sex work or so that they do not languish, while waiting the many years to resettlement .
In the coming months we are partnering with UNHCR in a campaign to empower LGBT refugees in Africa – not only to help with day-to-day survival but also to help prepare them for their life in their new home countries. We are planning to formally announce our new programs in the coming weeks.
As members of the international LGBT community we have an important duty to take care of our own. We unite as one by reaching out to our LGBT refugee family in Africa with the type of support that impacts survival while supporting empowerment.
Please consider a donation to African HRC.org so that we may continue our special LGBT global work for refugees and asylum seekers from African countries.