UN HRC 26 – Statement on the Human Rights of Migrants

MRI Logo with strap line

COC Nederland joined by International Lesbian and Gay Association

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants

Delivered by Richie Maitland

Watch the statement being delivered on the video below (see video from 37 minutes)

Mr President,

This statement is also made on behalf of Micro Rainbow, an organisation that aims to address the issue of poverty of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people across the world.

We would like to congratulate the Special Rapporteur for stressing not only the multiple layers of exploitation that migrants face but also those groups of migrants that are most at risk of exploitation.

As stated by the special rapporteur, people migrate for a variety of reasons including war, conflict, natural disasters, persecution, poverty and unemployment.

For lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans and intersex (LGBTI) migrants the main pull factor is often discrimination, stigmatisation, and at times persecution, that they face on the grounds of their sexuality, gender identity or intersex status in their home countries. Homosexuality is still criminalised in 77 countries in the world.

LGBTI asylum seekers and migrants often face multiple levels of discrimination.

LGBTI people are frequently stigmatised or ostracised by their families and members of their communities, in accessing healthcare, public services, and in employment opportunities and the workplace, which increases isolation and reduces opportunities in life.

Many face exploitation in the labour market often with very low paid and irregular jobs as the only option. Many are also at risk of sexual exploitation

LGBTI migrants face societal mistrust, particularly by employers and financial institutions, questioning ID documents with the additional accusation or suspicion of forgery; and discrimination during recruitment processes and in the work place.

Lastly, LGBTI migrants have often been exposed to humiliation, discrimination and persecution in their countries of origin. They have grown to feel ashamed of who they are. They may face the same issues in recipient countries, and disbelief regarding their identity or status. Intersex asylum seekers are often subjected to invasive and humiliating medical interventions.

Traumatic experiences, both at home and in the recipient country have a long-lasting effect, reinforcing a sense of marginalisation and non-belonging within society.

We call on States to take all measures necessary to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence, which undermine LGBTI people’s full enjoyment of their human rights.

We also call on States to take immediate steps to ensure that LGBTI migrants not only have equal access to employment opportunities, but also to ensure equal and decent treatment in the workplace.

Finally, we call on the Special Rapporteur to include LGBTIpeople in his future reports and country missions as one of the groups particularly at risk of exploitation.

We thank you.