North West Migrants Forum

New report urges safe accommodation for LGBT people seeking sanctuary in NI

LAW Centre NI and Rainbow Refugees NI (pictured above) have launched a new report calling for collective action to ensure safe accommodation for LGBTQIA+ people seeking sanctuary in Northern Ireland.

The report, launched on World Refugee Day, is based on research conducted by Rainbow Refugees in 2023 which found high levels of homophobic abuse within asylum accommodation.

The report makes two practical recommendations to protect LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers affected.

First, that people seeking sanctuary who identify as LGBTQIA+ can avail of a ‘safe house’.

Secondly, that victims of homophobic abuse can immediately and safely be accommodated away from the perpetrator of abuse.

The ‘We Are Getting Hurt’ report looks into the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people within asylum accommodation in Northern Ireland.

These tangible steps will significantly improve the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers.

Liz Griffith from the Migration Justice Project at Law Centre NI said: “LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers deserve the chance to rebuild their lives and feel safe in their own homes. We are optimistic that the recommendations in this report will bring about tangible and progressive change and we look forward to working collectively with Mears, Migrant Help and others to ensure the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers who have sought sanctuary in Northern Ireland.”

Rainbow Refugees added, “Rainbow Refugees NI is a vibrant and joyful space yet we are regular witnesses to our members being hurt. It is to their credit that they found the strength and determination to tell their stories honestly and to suggest measures to improve the safety and wellbeing of their community and those who will follow in their footsteps. Last year, we conducted a survey of our members for this important Law Centre report. Of those surveyed, 78 per-cent had experienced homophobic abuse or violence in or around their asylum accommodation.”

Members of Rainbow Refugees have explained that, having fled their countries for persecution based on their sexual orientation, they just need a safe place where they can be who they are without fear of abuse or attacks.

You can read the full report ‘We are getting hurt’ here.