London, UK – August 2018. The IARS International Institute and the Epsilon partnership raised awareness on LGBT migrant and refugees, one of the most vulnerable groups in modern Europe, focusing on the urgent need to increase the knowledge, skills and awareness of professionals who come in contact with them.
According to the UNHCR, over 1.1 million migrants and refugees arrived in Europe in 2015 and this flow continued and increased in the last few years.
War, violence, poverty forces these individuals to abandon their homes and as a consequence of this, their basic needs and human rights are compromised. This also includes their dignity and respect, and being free to exercise their sexual orientation, have a partner from the same sex and develop a family life without run the risk of being killed, harmed or bullied.
Under EU law, individuals persecuted because of their sexual orientation and gender identity qualify for refugee status but, on the other side, we know from research that public authorities as well as the migration/ asylum procedures are often not equipped to deal with their particular situation.
Dr. Theo Gavrielides, IARS’ Founder and Director, said: “This group are particularly marginalised, either by the community they have joined or by the community they have left. Their migration status combined with their sexual orientation presents them with additional challenges in achieving their potential, hopes and dreams in life. Our project has provided new insights and policy recommendations that will help reduce the detrimental impact that this prejudice has on these people’s lives”
During the two year project, the Epsilon consortium has worked together under the leadership of the IARS International Institute and guided by a team of LGBT migrants, to develop a set of highly innovative educational tools and training courses informed by the real needs of LGBT migrants and refugees. These evidence-based tools benefit both professionals and volunteers providing services to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers enabling them to better address issues of dignity, respect, inclusion and discrimination.
The recently published Epsilon E-book titled “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and migrant: a European story of discrimination and empowerment“ brings new and original evidence from the UK, Netherlands, Cyprus, Italy and Greece. Each participating country conducted desk-based research and qualitative fieldwork in their respective locations. This book presents the main findings and recommendations from this research as well as the outcomes from the tools that were developed as a result of the project. This included a face-to-face and online education programme which was piloted in all partner countries and across Europe.