San Francisco, CA — Days before the October 1st start of the 2016 Fiscal Year where President Barack Obama recently announced the United States would hold 10,000 additional spaces for Syrian refugees, the Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration ( ORAM ) today launched a petition urging the U.S. government to safeguard 500 of those 10,000 slots for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Intersex ( LGBTI ) refugees.
"LGBTI refugees, among the world's extremely vulnerable populations, face the direst circumstances in a situation of nightmarish proportions," said Neil Grungras, executive director of ORAM. "Those who succeed in escaping the infernos of Syria and Iraq find impossible survival challenges in surrounding countries. A minor five percent of the 10,000 additional slots would make an enormous impact on the lives of LGBTI Syrian refugees desperately attempting to, against all odds, be resettled to safety."
The petition reads:
"LGBTI people are targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS ) and other extremists. ISIS has carried out 30 brutal public executions of suspected LGBTI people videotaped, photographed and distributed via the Internet. No one knows how many have died silently. Thousands more are living in daily terror of being smoked out and murdered."
The full text of the petition, as well as the petition letter to U.S. officials, can be viewed here
"The refugee system is failing LGBTI people dismally. We know what has to be done to save these precious lives. The 11th hour has passed," said Grungras. "Saving these lives and restoring their dignity is the right thing to do and the time to act is now."
About ORAM - Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration
ORAM is an international organization devoted to capacity-building and advocacy on behalf of the world's most vulnerable refugees, including those fleeing persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
ORAM delivers highly innovative research, tools, trainings and empirically based assessment programs to refugee professionals and institutions around the world. ORAM's programs and activities are designed to uphold the integrity of the international refugee system, in turn giving exceptionally vulnerable refugees the protection they need and deserve.
You can read more about ORAM's work by visiting the organization's website, and social media via Facebook and Twitter.