Norway to prioritise LGBT+ asylum seekers

The State Secretary shared, "Unfortunately, in many countries it is not so that you are free to love who you want."

The flag of Norway against the sky

Following the impact of COVID-19 on the international settlement of asylum seekers across the world, Norway has announced that it is to give priority to LGBT+ people.

In a press release, it was shared, “For the first time, transfer refugees who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons will be given priority both as a group and as an individual when transferring refugees are selected.” A “transfer refugee” is a person who is being transferred from one country to another for a permanent placement.

Grunde Almeland, the State Secretary for Integration Affairs in the Ministry of Education, shared, “Unfortunately, in many countries it is not so that you are free to love who you want. In nearly 70 countries, homosexuality is criminal and those who violate gender and sexuality norms may be subject to persecution and discrimination in their home country.

“We are now changing the guidelines for the work of transfer refugees so that [LGBT] persons… should be given priority.”

The statement continued, “The global COVID-19 outbreak has led to the withdrawal, travel, reception and settlement of transfer refugees. The UNHCR and the United Nations International Organisation for Migration have temporarily halted the organisation of travel for refugees, with the exception of a few urgent cases. The government, together with the UN, among others, will resume work as soon as practicable.”

The statement continued, “Transfer refugees are persons who are usually registered as refugees with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It is the UN that promotes the applications for the transfer refugees, and the UDI decides which of them is allowed to come to Norway.” That priority will now be given to LGBT+ people.

The statement further explained how Norway has a ‘floating quota’ to welcome 3,000 transfer refugees every year, meaning that if less than 3,000 people are settled in one year, then the number will climb in the years to follow.

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