In the midst of the United States’ immigration crisis, the Human Rights Campaign released a video for World Refugee Day highlighting the importance of asylum for LGBTI people.
‘The country where I belong, being gay is a crime,’ Robel Hailu says. ‘So I have to flee from my country.’
Hailu is from Ethiopia, where being part of the LGBTI community is a crime worthy of imprisonment. He was one of the first people from the country to publicly address his sexuality.
As a Mr. Gay World contestant in 2012, he’s faced discrimination and death threats from his country before.
Now, as he says, he doesn’t ‘have a right to go back home’, and so he is applying for asylum within the US. The Trump administration, however, poses dangers with their strict immigration and refugee policies.
‘I’m scared to go back to Ethiopia,’ he admits. ‘Seeking asylum is looking to live in a country that actually accepts us. You never get a chance to see in the media what LGBTIQ Ethiopians face because our government keeps everything underground.’
He finishes by saying he wants Americans to know they have ‘brothers and sisters out there… looking for someone to help them, to listen to them’.
‘Refugees should be welcome here’
Fleeing to the US for asylum now poses its own dangers, however.
HRC President Chad Griffin said: ‘As the Trump-Pence administration turns away people fleeing barbaric persecution and unconscionably rips away children from their immigrant parents at the border, Americans must stand united in sending a powerful message that their cruel actions do not represent our values. We are a proud nation of immigrants, and refugees should be welcome here.’
Trump today signed an executive order reversing his administration’s policy of separating families at the border.
However, it does not reunite families previously separated and still keeps children in detention ‘indefinitely’.
Griffin further commented, saying the administration must ‘act to immediately end detention of children’.
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