Why “International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia” is important to us

Every 17th of May, the “International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia” is observed in a great number of countries worldwide. On this occasion, Za’atar NGO would like to recall the importance of the specific attention to and protection of LGBTQ+ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer) asylum seekers and refugees.

Many LGBTQ+ asylum seekers are often seriously threatened and actively persecuted in their home countries, and they unfortunately do not find more safety or peace once they have crossed European borders. They indeed are very likely to experience the same violence from their home community in camps. That is just one reason why they require specific aid, which very few organizations acknowledge and/or offer.

Since 2016, ATLAS (Aid To LGBTQ+ Asylum Seekers) initiative has been offering a safe and friendly support group for LGBTQ+ refugees, their family, and friends. In coordination with ATLAS, Za’atar built a program designed to ease the transition into European life for these individuals. It provides a variety of services such as:

  • Operating a Helpline for LGBTQ+ refugees worldwide in Farsi, Arabic, French and English
  • Providing a safe space at The Orange House for people of all sexual orientations and genders
  • Teaching the broader refugee community about LGBTQ+ rights
  • Ensuring all volunteers are LGBTQ+ friendly
  • Organizing LGBTQ+ social events to enable members of the community to meet and exchange with one another.

In those particular and challenging times of pandemic and movement restrictions, LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers are even more vulnerable. Locked in the camps, they have no more access to the dedicated “Safe Spaces” where they used to spend a moment or the whole day to get some rest and/or relief. The number of calls and messages from isolated refugees and asylum seekers to ATLAS has seen a significant increase in the past two months. ATLAS remains active on WhatsApp and Facebook. 

Za’atar NGO, acting for  the protection, support and empowerment of all refugees and asylum seekers, is aware of the particularly difficult situations faced by the most vulnerable populations– unaccompanied minors, single women and LGBTQ+ refugees – and determined to stand for and with them. 

Contact us by searching ‘ATLAS (Aid To LGBTQ Asylum Seekers) on Facebook or http://www.facebook.com/groups/atlas LGBTQ/, calling +30 694 067 1666 or emailing contact@zaatarngo.org.

Find out more about Za’atar NGO and our other initiatives by visiting our website and Instagram!



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