K&L Gates has teamed up with Kaleidoscope Australia to launch a new global Best Practice Guide for processing LGBTI refugee applications.
The guide will be used to inform refugee assessors and organisations acting for LGBTI refugees, claiming refugee status on the basis of persecution because of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Lead K&L Gates partner on the project Andrew Mansour said it the document will act as an important guide for understanding such claims.
“At present, applications for refugee status on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity have a very low success rate. This guide hopes to improve that by educating the assessors and those people representing such people to the nuances of such applications,” he said.
“We know that these sorts of applicants, that is LGBTI asylum seekers, are probably the most vulnerable of refugee applicants because their situation isn’t easily understood. And what the guide hopes to do is to ensure that their applications are treated appropriately and their positions are fully understood.”
According to ORAM international, around 175 million LGBTI people were living in persecutory environments globally in 2012, only 5,000 people from these nations annually are able to apply for asylum based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and only half are successful.
Dr Paula Gerber, president of Kaleidoscope Australia said that the guide will give assessors practical advice on how to deal with LGBTI refugee claims.
“We developed this Guide because we saw a real need to establish some basic principles. Our hope is that this guide will assist governments around the world to properly and fairly assess applications for refugee status based on sexual orientation or gender identity grounds,” she said.
“There are some existing resources that spell out what decision-makers should NOT do when assessing refugee claims based on sexual orientation or gender identity; the type of questions they should NOT ask. But to our knowledge, this is the first Guide to give detailed, practical guidance on how to interview asylum seekers, and to provide sample questions that are appropriate to ask.”