• ORAM


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, August 24th, 2015 CONTACT: Kristofer Eisenla, LUNA+EISENLA media | 202-670-5747 (mobile) Syrian Refugee and ORAM Representative Briefs U.N. Security Council at First-Ever Meeting on LGBT Rights Subhi Nahas tells council, “I’m receiving messages daily from friends who are terrified and feeling alone” NEW YORK CITY, NY – In an historic, first-ever United Nations Security Council meeting on LGBT rights, Subhi Nahas, an openly gay Syrian refugee and representative of ORAM – Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration, briefed attendees on the realities of Middle Eastern LGBT refugees.

The meeting, hosted today – Monday, August 24th – by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council’s U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and Chile’s U.N. Ambassador Cristian Barros Melet included Nahas as one of the key witnesses at this first-ever United Nations Security Council Arria focused exclusively on LGBT human rights.

To read additional background information on today’s historic meeting, including Nahas’ full written remarks presented at the U.N. Security Council meeting today, please click here.

“I’m receiving messages daily from my friends who are terrified and feeling alone because of ISIL’s constant attacks, murders, and infiltration and shutting off of the one escape route to safety in Turkey,” said Nahas, who was recently resettled in the U.S. with ORAM’s help.

Nahas addressed the council about his experience escaping persecution by ISIL and the importance of his work as an advocate at the San Francisco-based ORAM. Nahas is ORAM’s official representative at the meeting and works with the organization to advocate for and assist other gay refugees, like him, who seek safety and freedom.

He began working for ORAM while living in Turkey for three years, where he waited to be placed in a resettlement country.

“However, Turkey is not a safe place either,” he said. “My friends there have sent me pictures of their wounds from police rubber bullets at Istanbul Pride in June. In July, a gay activist was raped in his own home and my friends report that attacks against LGBT people are escalating by two vigilante militant groups who are posting banners calling to ‘Kill gay people,’ in Ankara and Istanbul.”

“Like me, my friends are feeling alone and terrified living in places where people who don’t fit into what others deem as ‘normal,’ are being persecuted and killed simply for who they are and what they believe,” Nahas continued. “This is why I’m telling my story to the U.N. Security Council today.”

ORAM’s founder and executive director, Neil Grungras, the leading international expert onLGBT refugees, was in New York with Nahas. Grungras, who has trained dozens of U.N. government and NGO offices in LGBT refugee protection and adjudication said, “It’s particularly important that this event is hosted by the U.N. Security Council. Of the millions of LGBT people who face human rights abuses each year, only a handful manage to escape and become refugees. It is up to the nations of conscience represented here today to open their doors and give these refugees the safety they need.”

About ORAM – Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration ORAM is an international non-profit 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.

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