Open minds are needed to improve the protection of LGBTI asylum seekers in Europe

Commissioner for Human Rights Strasbourg 11 October 2018
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Two LGBTI persons fled Syria to seek asylum in Europe - Photo Bradley Secker

Two LGBTI persons fled Syria to seek asylum in Europe - Photo Bradley Secker

“In many states around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons face serious violations of their human rights on account of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics”, says Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in her Human Rights Comment published today.

“These include killings, violence, the criminalisation of same-sex relations, and severe discrimination. Such violations also occur within the Council of Europe area. In my statement for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) 2018, I particularly highlighted the shocking reports of targeted persecution of LGBTI persons by law enforcement officers, including in Chechnya in the Russian Federation and in Azerbaijan. I also commented on the disturbingly widespread problem of homophobia and transphobia, including daily violent incidents, in other European states.

Whilst we must work tirelessly for better protection of the human rights of LGBTI persons, we also need to be mindful and understanding of the fact that sometimes they have no other choice but to flee and seek safety outside their own states. In many Council of Europe member states, however, LGBTI asylum seekers face a number of challenges to seeking such safety, which require urgent attention.”

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