The Netherlands. LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum seekers celebrate Pride on UNHCR’s boat during the Amsterdam Pride. © UNHCR

22 November 2023, 2pm-4pm (CET)

Online via zoom

Until the last decade, persons fleeing their countries of origin because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity were not only excluded from international protection but, subsequently, from family reunification schemes. Since, most European countries have recognized gender-based persecution while same sex families are increasingly gaining equal rights.

As a consequence of these two normative changes in Europe, family reunification schemes should be more accessible to LGBTQI+ refugees even if queer couples and families are not recognized and, sometimes, are criminalized in countries of origin. However, few LGBTQI+ refugees claim their right to family reunification. Indeed, family reunification scheme reflects the potential imbalance between the equality of all families before law and discretionary consideration of the cases of LGBTQI individuals. The fundamental concepts for family reunification as a family unit, (un)registered partnership, common life and the stability of a relationship are used in many different contexts – legal, political, humanitarian, private, community – which leads to disparate practices and norms.

Two questions arise from this intersectional issue. First, whether the right to family reunification is in fact exercises by LGBTQI+ individuals? And if not, what are the reasons? Second, whether mainstream service providers and authorities keep track of indirect indication of queer families during the asylum process and the integration pathway?

This workshop aims at identifying legal and social challenges to family reunification for LGBTQI+ refugees. The workshop will bring together practitioners, more particularly NGOs, to exchange practices but also strategies to improve access to family reunification and to advocate for LGBTQI+ refugees rights. Finally, the workshop is an opportunity for first cooperation and networking between NGOs supporting LGBTQI+ refugees in France, Germany and Italy.

2pm-2.30pm: Introduction

  • Welcome address and objectives of the workshop, Matthieu Tardis, Synergies migrations
  • Queer families facing the challenges of reunification: key concepts and solutions, Anna Shcherbakova, Synergies migrations

2.30pm-3.30pm: Implementing family reunification: practices in selected countries

  • Supporting family reunification cases in Europe and North America, Kristine Rembach, IRAP
  • Practices in France, Germany and Italy, Vera Keller, UNHCR Europe
  • Humanitarian programs/visas, community sponsorship: what alternatives for effective access to family reunification, discussion with the participants

3.30pm-4pm: next steps: raising awareness among LGBTQI+ refugees, NGOs and decision makers

  • Informing LGBTQI+ refugees of their right to family reunification, discussion with the participants
  • Advocating for LGBTQI+ refugees right to family reunification, discussion with the participants

This workshop is organized in the framework of the project “enhancing legal pathways to protect LGBTQI+ refugees in Europe” in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Paris, France – Italy

Registration and information