In about ten countries, homosexuality is associated with the death penalty and in almost seventy countries, long prison sentences await LGBTQ people.
The Swedish Migration Agency and the migration courts today decide on the deportation of LGBTQ people to such countries after an arbitrary and legally uncertain assessment of credibility.
«It is inhumane to start from a credibility assessment of asylum-seeking LGBTQ people based on an arbitrary model without a scientific basis. Already today, far too many people have been sent back to persecution, imprisonment and even death. This must end now», says Emma Gunterberg Sachs, operations manager at West Pride.
The model is based on a stereotyping idea that all LGBTQ people have the same experience of growing up in homo- and transphobic societies. They are therefore expected to be able to tell in detail about their experiences in asylum investigations, which can be very difficult for people who grew up in cultures where LGBTQ is considered taboo, sinful and associated with legal sanctions. Finding words for what has been impossible to tell about or daring to open up in a new country where it is difficult to know what is legally valid are just some of the obstacles that asylum seekers must overcome.
On June 1st, West Pride launched a new campaign and petition
To highlight the problems with the current asylum process and to try to make a real difference, West Pride now highlights the stories of six different LGBTQ refugees about their path through the Swedish asylum process. By appointing them Pride Ambassadors and Honorary Members of West Pride, we want to give them the credibility they currently need to stay. In connection with the campaign, West Pride will start a petition that will be handed over to Swedish Migration Minister Anders Ygeman at World Refugee Day on 20th June.
Meet «Serena» from Iraq, «Ansumana» from Senegal, «Khalid» from Afghanistan, «Muhizi» from Rwanda, «Nour» from Morocco and «Farhad» from Iran. Read their moving testimonies about how they had to flee for their lives and how their identities are questioned by the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) and what life-threatening consequences it can have.
«I have seen friends stoned to death because of their sexual orientation and I would never be able to return to Iraq and live as I am. I have the courage to take my own life if I have to return», says «Serena» one of the asylum seekers.
Read more about the campaign and the asylum seekers LGBTQ people on West Pride’s website and ambassadorsofpride.com.