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UNHCR Canada shows solidarity with LGBTQ refugees

UNHCR staff member Aoife in Amman’s refugee registration centre wears a button, “You are safe here,” letting LGBTQ refugees know who to seek help from. UNHCR work to support vulnerable LGBTQ refugees seeking help across the world. Mandatory photo credit: © UNHCR/Jaz Cummins

UNHCR staff member Aoife in Amman’s refugee registration centre wears a button, “You are safe here,” letting LGBTQ refugees know who to seek help from. UNHCR works to support vulnerable LGBTQ refugees seeking help across the world. Mandatory photo credit: © UNHCR/Jaz Cummins

 

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Canada, is calling for support for LGBTQ refugees forced to flee because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The launch of Pride Month in Toronto marks the kick-off of festivities scheduled throughout this summer across Canada in celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

Yet for millions of LGBTQ people around the world, their sexual orientation and gender identity places their lives at risk on a daily basis, subjected to discrimination, persecution and violence.

For years, UNHCR has been protecting and finding solutions for LGBTQ displaced and stateless people around the world. The UN Refugee Agency has trained its and partners’ staff and established networks of LGBTQ refugees to ensure that its programs are safe and inclusive of LGBTQ people.

UNHCR will be joining Pride festivities with a celebration of LGBTQ refugees on Sunday, June 17. The special event will be co-hosted with our partners Trans Workforce and Oliver & Bonacini as a joint show of solidarity with LGBTQ refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people.

Minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen (left) and refugee activist Biko Beautah (middle) joined UNHCR Canada Representative, Jean-Nicolas Beuze at the launch event in Toronto. © UNHCR/ Lauren Larose

Minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen (left) and refugee activist Biko Beautah (middle) joined UNHCR Canada Representative, Jean-Nicolas Beuze at the launch event in Toronto. © UNHCR/ Lauren La Rose

“I am so grateful to Canadians who have extended warmth, compassion and kindness to refugees from all over the world, including me,” said Biko Beauttah, a Kenyan-born LGBTQ advocate and Founder of Trans Workforce, billed as the first job fair in Canada for people who identify as trans and gender non-conforming.

“I am so proud to call Canada home, and to have the chance to team up with UNHCR in celebration of LGBTQ people, and speaking out in support of all those who are so often forced to live their lives in the shadows.”

“No one should be forced to leave everything they love behind for the simple fact of being who they are,” said UNHCR Canada Representative Jean-Nicolas Beuze. “We each have an important role to play, and UNHCR is pleased to help bring the voices of LGBTQ refugees to the fore, for them to be  listened to and incorporated into all aspects of our work.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been protecting the rights and well-being of refugees all over the world for nearly 70 years. UNHCR works to ensure everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home.

The mission of Trans Workforce is to create a space where trans identifying job seekers can interact without fear of discrimination with employers who are seeking to give equal opportunity to qualified talent.

For more information and interview requests, please contact: Lauren La Rose, Senior Fundraising Communications Associate, UNHCR Canada, Tel.: (416) 926-7967, Email: larose@unhcr.org