June 21, 2014 – Reported on Huffington Post: The recent upsurge in persecution of LGBTI people across the globe has sent the number of refugee applications rising sharply. As long as the abuses continue, the numbers will surely escalate. However, only a small handful of those who manage to escape base their claims on their sexual orientation or gender identity – they fear further persecution or rejection. Even when these applicants reveal the true reasons they escaped, many refugee agencies do not handle their claims properly or sensitively. This results in many LGBTI refugees not requesting protection or being sent home to face intolerable human rights abuses. Others find inordinate difficulties in their place of transit or refuge.
LGBTI people are among the most persecuted individuals in the world. In tens of countries, LGBTI people regularly face harassment, arrest, interrogation, torture and beatings. Consensual same-sex relations are criminalized in over 80 countries, in eight of these by death. Our organization, ORAM – Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration – estimates that while over 175 million LGBTI people live under conditions of peril or violence worldwide, fewer than 2,500 a year are accorded asylum or refugee protection based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.