#Dame1minutode y las refugiadas LGTB

¿Qué significa ser una persona LGTB? Las iniciales LGBT se refieren a Lesbianas, Gais, Bisexuales y Transexuales. Estas personas solicitan la condición de refugiadas porque en sus países de nacimiento existen leyes que persiguen la homosexualidad, son víctimas de diferentes tipos de violencia y están perseguidas por su orientación sexual.

Según el artículo 16 de la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos, “Los hombres y las mujeres, a partir de la edad núbil, tienen derecho, sin restricción alguna por motivos de raza, nacionalidad o religión, a casarse y fundar una familia; y disfrutarán de iguales derechos en cuanto al matrimonio, durante el matrimonio y en caso de disolución del matrimonio.”

Por ello, la comunidad LGBT no debe ser criminalizada. Sin embargo, en muchos países sus derechos básicos son vulnerados.

Actualmente hay 77 estados que tienen leyes en contra de las parejas del mismo sexo y existen países en los que se les practica la esterilización y operaciones quirúrgicas sin su consentimiento. Los riesgos a los que están expuestas las personas refugiadas LGTB son: restricciones para acceder a un puesto de trabajo, a una vivienda, a los servicios médicos; se les niega el asilo; pueden perder la custodia de sus hijas e hijos, son sometidas a abusos sexuales; torturas; amenazas, violencias; y en los casos más graves penas de cárcel y muerte.

Uno de los países donde esta comunidad está penada es en Siria, se considera un delito y se les castiga con al menos tres años de cárcel. Muchas personas homosexuales sirias huyen a Europa, pero la violencia que sufren no se acaba al huir de su país de origen, ya que en los campos de refugiados también son acosados y perseguidos. Muchos de los casos no están registrados, pero el problema es tan grave que por ejemplo en  Berlín ha inaugurado el primer centro para personas refugiadas LGTB.

En 2014 se aprobó en Uganda una ley anti-homosexualidad, lo que ha provocado que muchas personas huyan del país. La ley incluye delitos y castigos como éstos:

  • Cadena perpetua por mantener relaciones sexuales con una persona del mismo sexo.
  • Cadena perpetua para la “homosexualidad agravada” que incluye sexo con menores o con personas VIH positivos.
  • Cadena perpetua para los matrimonio del mismo sexo.
  • 7 años de cárcel para “la intención de cometer homosexualidad”.
  • De 5 a 7 años de cárcel, una multa de 50.000€, o ambos, por la promoción de la homosexualidad .
  • 7 años de cárcel para los directores de negocios u organizaciones que promuevan la homosexualidad.

A causa de esta polémica ley, Uganda ha recibo críticas de muchos países. Estados Unidos, por ejemplo, ha respondido negando el acceso a su territorio a los oficiales de Uganda que hayan violado los derechos humanos.

La ley finalmente ha sido anulada, sin embargo, siguen existiendo hostilidades hacia la comunidad LGTB. Se estima que hay 500 ugandeses homosexuales que huyeron a Kenia. Pero, el Departamento de Estado de EE.UU, afirma que es muy difícil estimar el número exacto de personas que huyeron porque podrían haberse trasladado a otros lugares de África.

Han surgido muchas organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro para ayudarles en los países donde está penalizado. Una de ellas es la Organización para el Refugio, el Asilo, y la Migración que se encuentra en San Francisco (EE.UU) y que ayuda a los refugiados LGTB que huyen de Turquía. Allí les ayudan con el visado y les acompañan en su adaptación en EE.UU.

Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) se dedica a ayudarles en su reasentamiento y afirman que han recogido a más de 60 personas refugiadas desde 2011, a las que ayudan proporcionándoles terapias especiales, viviendas temporales con una familia de acogida y soporte legal.

E.E.U.U. es un país que ha promovido los derechos de las personas LGTB en todo el mundo. En 2014, el Departamento de Estado desarrolló un programa de formación para agentes del orden en Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haití, Honduras, Jamaica, y México con el objetivo de combatir los crímenes de odio. También promovió el Violent Crimes Task Force en Honduras, un proyecto que investiga la persecución de casos de homicidios contra personas LGTB. Entre enero del 2013 y marzo del 2014 se estima que al menos 594 personas del colectivo han sido asesinadas en toda América. Según una investigación realizada por Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, además 176 personas fueron agredidas. El 24 junio de 2014, la Casa Blanca albergó el primer foro en el mundo en defensa de los derechos de las personas LGTB.

Lydia Castillo

#Giveme1minute for LGBT refugees around the world

What makes a refugee a part of the LGBT community? LGBT stands for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender people. These people can become refugees from anti-homosexual laws and violence that causes them to flee their home country.

According to Article 16 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.” Based off this article from the UN, people within the LGBT community should not be criminalized for their homosexuality or for being transgender. However, in many states, basic human rights for this group of people is not possible.

Currently, there are 77 states where consensual same-sex relations are criminalized and some countries even subject transgender people to surgeries and/or sterilization without their consent. The risks that LGBT refugees face are the following: execution by state; denial of employment, housing or medical services; loss of child custody; denial of asylum; sexual assault; torture; violent threats; and jail.

The most recent LGBT refugee problem has been occurring with Syria. In this country, homosexuality is considered a crime and can be punishable by at least 3 years in prison. Many homosexual Syrians flee their country to Europe, with most going to Germany. However, many other Syrians have also taken refuge in Germany and they bring their values and opinions with them about homosexuality. This led to problems for these LGBT Syrian refugees, especially when violence started to occur in refugee camps. Most of these violent cases against LGBT refugees go unreported, however, the problem became so serious that Berlin opened Germany’s first major gay refugee center. There is space for more than 120 people who are within the LGBT community.

In the past, there have also been problems for LGBT people within Uganda. In 2014, an anti-homosexuality act was passed in Uganda which caused many LGBT people to flee the country. The legislative act included the following “crimes” and what the punishment was for these “criminals”:

  • Life imprisonment for gay sex, including oral sex
  • Life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality” which included sex with a minor or while being HIV-positive
  • Life imprisonment for living in a same-sex marriage
  • 7 years of imprisonment for “attempting to commit homosexuality”
  • 5-7 years of imprisonment, a €50.000 fine, or both, for the promotion of homosexuality
  • Cancellation of certificates of registration for businesses or non-governmental organizations found guilty for promoting homosexuality
  • 7 years of imprisonment for directors of businesses or organizations who promote homosexuality

Shortly after the act was put into place, it received criticism from many countries. The United States decided to respond to Uganda’s anti-homosexuality act by denying entry into the U.S. for some Ugandan officials who were known as violators of LGBT people’s human rights.

The act was quickly annulled, however, anti-homosexual opinions still exist today within Uganda. Some activists have estimated that there are around 500 homosexual Ugandans seeking asylum in Kenya. According to a U.S. State Department official, “It is difficult to estimate the number of LBGT individuals who have fled Uganda for the neighboring countries, as Ugandans are able to move freely within the East Africa community.” However, there have been many accounts of homosexual people in Uganda being killed by other citizens within the community. Ugandan LGBT people are still fleeing to other countries, Kenya number one.

Many organizations have arose to help these LGBT refugees from Syria, Uganda, and other countries. The Organization for Refuge, Asylum, and Migration (ORAM), for example, is a San Francisco, USA based non-profit organization that reaches out to LGBT refugees who escaped to Turkey. Staff located in Turkey reach out to LGBT refugees there and help them with processing their visa applications for the U.S.

The Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) is another non-profit dedicated to helping LGBT refugees. They have a resettlement program that has resettled and assisted around 60 LGBT refugees and asylum seekers since 2011. This group has helped these people by supplying counseling programs, temporary housing with a host family, and legal support.

The U.S. is also a country that has promoted the human rights of LGBT people across the world. In 2014, for example, the U.S. State Department sponsored a counter-hate crimes training for law enforcement officials within Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, and Mexico. The U.S. State Department also supported the Violent Crimes Task Force in Honduras that investigates and supports the prosecution of homicide cases with LGBT people. These countries were chosen because at least 594 LGBT persons were estimated to have been killed in the Americas between January 2013 and March 2014. Around 176 people were also seriously assaulted, according to research by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). On June 24, 2014, the White House in the U.S. hosted the world’s first Global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Human Rights Forum.

In the future, more countries must support these LGBT refugees and the UN must take more action against countries that have anti-homosexuality laws in place, like Uganda did in 2014. LGBT people must be able to have basic human rights across the world.

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