Thursday, 3 December 2009

Turkey: latest LGBT news/links

1. Gay refugees flee persecution but remain at risk (WorldFocus)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) refugees are among the most vulnerable refugee groups in the world today, according to Neil Grungras, the executive director of Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM).[...]

ORAM is currently providing legal representation to LGBT refugees in Turkey. The vast majority of them are Iranians who have fled execution or other severe punishment in Iran and Turkey happens to be their “country of first asylum.”

Worldfocus producer Gizem Yarbil interviews Neil Grungras about ORAM’s refugee clients in Turkey. A refugee and immigration advocate with more than 20 years of experience, he has worked extensively on behalf of vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers. [...]

Our clients in Turkey are predominantly sexual minorities - lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender individuals from Iran. The abuses they face almost always emanate from the Iranian authorities. These include harassment, arrest, interrogation, torture, beatings, and execution.

It is estimated that 4000 LGBTs have been executed in Iran since 1978. While no one can be certain of the exact figure, LGBTs live in constant fear of discovery or outing there.[...]

While the Turkish government does not persecute LGBTs, conditions in Turkey for these individuals are extremely harsh. Like other refugees there, our clients are typically not permitted to work, and have no access to normal health care, social assistance or housing. LGBTs in Turkey are also targeted with violence by local populations, and the authorities are often unable to extend them protection. Several of our clients in Turkey have been beaten and many have been threatened with violence. In some towns, the situation is so severe that some refugees fear venturing outside in daylight. During the past year, many of our clients have reported threats and actual violence against them. A few clients were beaten so seriously that they required hospitalization.

We recently detailed these and other abuses in our co-publication with Helsinki Citizens Assembly – Turkey titled Unsafe Haven: The Security Challenges Facing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Asylum Seekers in Turkey.[...]
2. Soul-Searching in Turkey After a Gay Man Is Killed (NY Times)
More about this case - see one of my earlier posts

3. Acvists target Turkish law (Pink Paper)
The Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association in Ankara, Turkey, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission have teamed up to demand that Turkey's "Law of Misdemeanors" be rewritten to protect transgender people's rights to free expression, association and movement.

"In recent months," the groups said, "the harassment of transgender and transsexual persons in Turkey has intensified as police abuse the country's Law of Misdemeanors to legitimise daily fines, extortion, eviction, detention and police brutality. The law gives security forces tremendous leeway to punish any noise, disobedience and disturbance, with virtually no oversight in how the law is applied or recourse to those who are penalised."[...]

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