August 12th 2014 – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Queer Youth & Student Organization (IGLYO) and the Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM) salute the future generation by celebrating International Youth Day today. The theme of this year’s event is “Mental Health Matters”.
ORAM and IGLYO draw the attention of governments, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, refugee professionals, community activists, youth service providers and youth leaders to the perils facing particularly vulnerable young people, including young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI) asylum seekers and refugees.
Legal and societal human rights abuses in many countries drive LGBTQI youth out of their homes. The targeting includes ‘anti-propaganda laws’ limiting freedom of expression and association, imprisonment and execution.
Forced migration subjects LGBTQI youth to poverty, violence, and exploitation. Continual marginalization can also lead to risky or dangerous behaviors, including criminal activities, survival sex, unsafe sexual relationships and substance abuse.
For LGBTQI people, forced migration exacerbates isolation and loneliness and can eventually lead to debilitating mental health conditions. It is up to the international community to help young LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees overcome these challenges.
LGBTQI youth struggle with these challenges and can often face additional discrimination based on their gender, race, ethnicity, (dis)ability and religion, and even after they escape conflict, or religious, ethnic or political persecution.
ORAM and IGLYO call on governments, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, refugee professionals, LGBTQI activists, youth service providers, and youth leaders to:
1. Reinforce capacity building and LGBTQI training for service providers and refugee professionals, teaching them to utilize safe and non-discriminatory screening methods.
2. Create new networks and platforms of dialogue between youth groups, LGBTQI groups, refugee professionals and young LGBTQI refugees, enhancing experience-sharing and awareness-raising.
3. Create safe spaces for young LGBTQI refugees to express their fears and hopes, helping them embrace their identity and break the silence often accompanying internalized homophobia or transphobia.
4. Encourage states to adopt and enforce international human rights law applicable to sexual orientation and gender identity, such as, Principle 23 of the Yogyakarta Principles, to ensure that LGBTQI persons and youths are not extradited, removed, or expelled to any state where they may face persecution, degrading treatment or punishment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organisation – IGLYO
Romina Tolu, Communications Officer
Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration – ORAM
Neil Grungras, Founder & Executive Director