This is Our Open Call! “LGBTI+ Refugees’ Declaration of Demands”
This is Our Open Call as LGBTI+ Refugees living, or left with no other choice than to live, in Turkey to LGBTI+ Associations, LGBTI+ Initiatives, LGBTI+ Students’ Clubs, and All Other Organisations Active in Turkey:
1- The ever-present language barrier hinders LGBTI+ refugees from taking part in activities and accessing training for LGBTI+ individuals. We DEMAND that in future activities and publications, the principle of inclusion be upheld with wider spaces allowed to LGBTI+ refugees and the principle of polylinguism be upheld with the integration of additional languages including Arabic, Farsi, and Kurdish.
2- We DEMAND LGBTI+ associations that do not have specific policies for LGBTI+ refugees in place to develop “policies inclusive of LGBTI+ refugees” and to include us, LGBTI+ refugees, in such policy-making processes.
3- We DEMAND LGBTI+ associations, initiatives, and organisations to allow space to LGBTI+ refugees in decision-making mechanisms.
4- We DEMAND LGBTI+ associations, initiatives, and organisations to allocate funds in their budgets for activities targeting LGBTI+ refugees and to include us, LGBTI+ refugees, in this process.
5- We DEMAND that event and meeting venues available to the LGBTI+ community be made accessible to LGBTI+ refugees after the pandemic and LGBTI+ refugees be included any joint activities held in safe spaces for the LGBTI+ community during the pandemic.
6- We DEMAND LGBTI+ associations, initiatives, and organisations to offer support to LGBTI+ refugees for “LGBTI+ refugees’ efforts of self-organisation”.
7- LGBTI+ refugees living with HIV are faced with HIV Phobia. We DEMAND that LGBTI+ refugees living with HIV not be forgotten and be included in any activities to be organised in an effort to counteract such phobia.
8- The pandemic has isolated LGBTI+ refugees and even further and added to their invisibility. We DEMAND that LGBTI+ refugees be provided with access to free-of-charge psychological support in their own languages to be able to cope with the problems they face and that the already available, but limited services be expanded in scope.
9- LGBTI+ individuals are faced with relentless discrimination. For refugees, such discrimination is coupled with racism. We DEMAND that, in an effort to combat this multiple discrimination and other rights violations perpetuated in legal terms, access be provided to us to free-of-charge legal aid networks and to legal advice in our own languages (Arabic, Farsi, and Kurdish), and that the currently limited number of available services be increased.
10- The currently applicable working criteria for foreigners restrict the areas of employment available to LGBTI+ refugees and add difficulties to their work permit procedure. We DEMAND that all organisations with responsibilities in the designation of relevant criteria act as facilitators in the provision of further areas of employment for LGBTI+ individuals and, if possible, in the designation of quotas for LGBTI+ refugees in recruitment.
11- Transgender refugees living in Turkey are faced with violence. Transgender refugees find it almost impossible to access employment. They encounter issues in access to hormones, during the gender affirmation process, and even due to their names. They are forced to deal with these issues by themselves. We DEMAND that efforts targeting transgender refugees specifically be expanded and the currently available, but limited services be rendered more accessible to them.
12- The problems affecting LGBTI+ refugees are invisible, or rather, ignored. On this ground, we DEMAND that a joint working group for LGBTI+ refugees be established at the national level in Turkey to include LGBTI+ refugees affiliated with LGBTI+ associations, initiatives, and organisations and campaigns be organised to address common problems.
13- Every person has the fundamental human right to protect their well-being. In this scope, we DEMAND the establishment of an international network for LGBTI+ refugees, led by the national working group in Turkey, to include us, LGBTI+ refugees, in social policy-making.
14- LGBTI+ refugees has been forced to wait in Turkey for years to be resettled in third countries. Such a long waiting period breeds restlessness and anxiety. We DEMAND that campaigns be organised to build a mechanism to pressure all competent public agencies and institutions of relevance to ensure that third-country resettlements be finalised as a matter of urgency without pleading the pandemic as an excuse and LGBTI+ associations, initiatives, and organisations take an active part in such campaigns.
15- We DEMAND that contacts be made, and meetings be held with the Migration Management Authority and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to prevent discrimination and LGBTI+-phobia against LGBTI+ refugees.
16- We DEMAND that specific events be organised on alternative social media platforms such as YouTube and podcasts to address LGBTI+ refugees and their problems and support be extended to us, LGBTI+ refugees, wishing to be involved in such events.
● The “LGBTI+ Refugees’ Declaration of Demands” was formulated by LGBTI+ refugees, as well as activists among them involved in relevant efforts, during an event held under “17th May International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia Meetings for LGBTI+ Refugees-VI” organised by HEVI LGBTI+ Association in 2021.