ADDED ON: 01/08/2022

UNHCR highlights work with LGBTQ asylum seekers in Central America

1/7/22 | Washington Blade

Officials with the U.N. Refugee Agency in Central America and Mexico say they remain committed to helping LGBTQ asylum seekers and migrants in the region. UNHCR Guatemala Representative Besem Obenson told the Washington Blade during an interview at her Guatemala City office last September that she and her colleagues work with Asociación Lambda and other Guatemalan NGOs to provide LGBTQ asylum seekers with access to LGBTQ-friendly shelters, psychosocial care and other programs once they identify themselves as LGBTQ. Obenson said UNHCR also works with the Guatemalan government to improve the way it responds to an asylum seeker with an ID document that does not correspond to their gender presentation. Rafael Zavala, a senior UNHCR official in El Salvador, echoed Obenson when he spoke with the Blade at UNHCR’s office in San Salvador, the Salvadoran capital, last July. Zavala noted UNHCR has a formal partnership with COMCAVIS Trans, a Salvadoran transgender rights group. Zavala said UNHCR also works with two other LGBTQ groups — Aspidh Arcoíris Trans and Diké LGBTI+ — in a less official capacity. “What we do is work at the community level to strengthen their role in communities,” Zavala told the Blade. “We also build for them safe spaces (to accept internally displaced people, migrants and deportees who are LGBTQ) and also find spaces where they can receive services, attention and legal assistance.”

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