On Feb 8, 2017 CBC reported: LGBT refugees from around the Middle East who have fled to Turkey are less likely to make it to Canada because of the government’s focus on resettling Syrian refugees, says Arsham Parsi, executive director of the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees.
He estimated that there are 1,200 LGBT people from places like Iran, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia who have left their home countries for Turkey and are now waiting to be granted refugee status.
Parsi told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning that these refugees live in fear of being exposed after fleeing countries where they faced discrimination, torture and death if they were found out.
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Questions and answers have been condensed
Matt Galloway: What is life like for these refugees in Turkey?
Arsham Parsi: Turkey is not a safe country for homosexuals. So they become more conservative, and there is a lot of religious homophobia. Even Turkish LGBTs are not safe in their own country, so for someone who is foreign, who is a refugee, who doesn’t have support or an understanding of the Turkish language, there are a lot of challenges. The worst thing is they are being discriminated against or assaulted by other refugee groups, as well.