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UN: more must be done to protect rights of LGBTI refugees
UN: more must be done to protect rights of LGBTI refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday announced [UN report] that, in response to the unique prejudice and violence lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) refugees face, it has implemented a new effort [press release] to train humanitarian workers on the protection of minority rights. The effort, referred to as a training package, is touted as being the most complete of its kind and was developed in response to the UN’s recent publication [text] concerning the status of LGBTI rights worldwide. Volker Turk [official profile], the UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, said in a press release, “despite significant progress in this effort, discrimination against LGBTI persons persists, and their international protection needs often go unmet.” LGBTI persons in forced migration are often confronted with discrimination, violence, and various challenges in meeting their needs for protection and asylum. The program was developed by the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) [official website] along with various other agencies to ensure global relevance of the training program for humanitarian and UNHCR staff. The package focuses a variety of topics including international law, health, refugee status determination, as well as sexual orientation and gender identity. It was funded by the US Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration.

Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) [JURIST news archive] continue to struggle against discriminatory laws [JURIST forum] throughout the world. In September, Human Rights Watch criticized [JURIST report] the top Malaysian court for reinstating a law that bans a man from “posing” as a woman. Also in September, 12 United Nations agencies published a joint statement [JURIST report] urging states to end violence and discrimination toward LGBT individuals. Abuses toward the LGBT population are human rights abuses impacting society as a whole, the UN agencies said. The UN has paid increasing attention to this issue, and held the first ministerial meeting on LGBT rights [JURIST report] in September 2013.