Blind Alleys:The Unseen Struggles of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Urban Refugees in Mexico, Uganda and South Africa

Published: February 28, 2013

Executive Summary

In this guide, ORAM offers key recommendations relevant to narrowing the protection gaps
plaguing urban SGN16 refugees. Based on our research findings in the disparate protection
environments of Uganda, South Africa and Mexico, as well as on ORAM’s extensive work with
this population in other locations, these recommendations include:

 Training agencies, protection officers, RSD staff, and NGOs which provide refugee assistance
(e.g., information on SOGI claims and sensitive interviewing techniques);

Including sexual and gender nonconformity at each stage of refugee processing (e.g.,
adopting intake and RSD forms which allow full articulation of claims based on sexual
orientation, gender identity, and gender expression);

Encouraging domestic protection authorities to recognize SGN claims;

Providing UNHCR mandate protection where domestic protection is unavailable;

Expediting consideration of vulnerable SGN persons’ claims;

Forming information networks to improve SGN refugees’ access to information systems;

Fast-tracking resettlement of particularly vulnerable SGN refugees;

Increasing the numbers of SGN refugees accepted for resettlement;

Forming partnerships with organizations focused on sexual and gender minorities; and

Conducting comprehensive advocacy and service efforts that connect organizations working
in legal aid, sex and gender based violence, human rights issues, and refugee support.

We recommend that refugee-serving NGOs conduct trainings within their organizations to
hone awareness, sensitization and expertise. We recommend that the same NGOs train other
stakeholders including government agencies and community groups. This approach will
help build knowledge in the field about SGN refugees, dispel stereotypes, and introduce best
practices, procedures, and tools.

In addition to conducting sensitization trainings, this guide suggests that that NGOs focus
training on the implementation of procedures including codes of conduct prohibiting discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, best practices in the field and tools such
as SGN-sensitive interview guides. The combination of these efforts will help to create non-threatening,
affirmatively accepting environments that signal safety and inclusion to SGN refugees.

We strongly recommend that refugee service providers develop partnerships and coalitions
with local LGBTI organizations, faith-based community groups, diverse human rights groups, and
other refugee-focused NGOs. These partnerships will open referral channels, build service capacity,
and create a sense of community designed specifically to address the needs of SGN refugees.

Finally, we urge NGO service providers to create comprehensive and holistic advocacy and
service programs. Key elements of a multi-faceted approach can include community and governmental
advocacy efforts, direct legal aid, SGN-friendly and specific health services, education
and vocational trainings.

Full text of article available at link below –

Leave a Reply