IRQR is a registered charity in Canada. Since 2008, IRQR’s provisions of support and counseling have become a reliable source of help for people who are seeking to move on from past persecution. Through IRQR clients will gain confidence, and develop lasting support networks, as well as increasing their chance of being successfully resettled and accepted in their new home.
Sexual orientation and gender identification are recognized as protected human rights by jurisdictions throughout the world, including Canada (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and most provincial and territorial human rights codes), the European Union (the Charter of Fundamental Rights), and over 65 members of the United Nations that are signatories to the UN Statement on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Unfortunately, other countries do not recognize sexual orientation and gender identity as human rights and, further, persecute LGBT individuals. Iran is one such country, and this has forced thousands of LGBT Iranians to flee their homeland and become refugees, seeking asylum in countries that accept them for who they are.
The overwhelming majority of LGBT refugees flee to neighbouring Turkey, where they file claims for asylum with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The UNHCR assesses each claim and if a claim is determined to be valid, the UNHCR identifies a new country for the refugee based on his/her circumstances. Often that country is Canada and the United States of America.
We provide support and counseling to LGBT refugees. This support includes but is not subject to; financial aid for shelter, food and healthcare. IRQR follows up with their LGBT refugee cases from when leave until they arrive in a safe country and are supportive during the entire refugee process.
Our goal is to eliminate LGBT issues as part of mainstream human rights discourse. This will be completed though media presence, contributions to high profile events. IRQR regularly visits to Turkey to meet refugees, document their situation and collect their feedback on IRQR activities. We have witnessed significant changes among the Iranian society in that last ten years, which confirms that it is achievable.
As of February 2017, IRQR was able to help process more than 1500 refugee applications since 2005. Approximately 83% of refugees who approached IRQR were successfully granted refugee status. We provide consultations to about 90 clients per week; this includes working with LGBT people who currently live in Iran, Iran’s neighboring countries such as Turkey and in Canada. IRQR has worked closely with UNHCR office, NGOs and the government to assist refugees.
Whenever possible IRQR extends financial and educational support to those currently in transit countries through donations. We connect asylum seekers and refugees with UNHCR offices around the world. IRQR has a commitment to help refugees resettle in safe countries though referrals for housing, employment, legal aid; as well as supporting clients through emotional and health related issues.
In the last few years, we were able to build a simple structure and focus upon enabling Iranian queer asylum seekers to be safe on their journey and arrive in a new country to live and be free.