AsylumConnect Week in Review 04/08/2019

As more countries continue to crackdown on LGBTQ rights, AsylumConnect shares stories of LGBTQ asylum seekers in Egypt and Brunei. Worryingly, Azerbaijan, one of the worst countries for LGBTQ rights in Europe, conducted raids targeting transgender citizens. Read more to learn about LGBTQ and asylum seeker rights around the world.

The Refugee and the Thief

Peter Hessler- The New Yorker

“Manu fled Egypt a little bit at a time. First, he flew to Cyprus, because he knew a travel agent who helped him get a visa. Manu spent a few days in Larnaca, and he got a tattoo in Nicosia, and then he returned to Cairo. The next stop was Saudi Arabia. Visas were easy to get for Egyptians performing the ‘umrah pilgrimage, and Manu had a relative in the country. It may have been the first time in history that a gay man was going to Mecca as part of a plan to escape a Muslim country, but Manu wanted his passport stamped.”

Ahead of LGBT+ crackdown, fleeing Bruneians fear for friends back home

Michael Taylor- Reuters

“As a transgender woman growing up in Brunei, Zoe saw the country’s slide toward conservatism from an early age, so plans to introduce strict new Islamic laws this week came as no surprise.”

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Has Resigned

Tarini Parti & Hamed Aleaziz- Buzzfeed News

“More than anything during her tenure, the 46-year-old became the face of a controversial policy enforced at the border last year that separated families from their children under a “zero tolerance” process in which all individuals who crossed the border were to be criminally charged.”

Waiting for Asylum in the United States, Migrants Live in Fear in Mexico

Zolan Kanno-Youngs & Maya Averbuch- The New York Times

“Hoping to convince American immigration officials that his life is in danger, Selvin Alvarado sorted through photographs of men who he said have threatened to kill him.

Mr. Alvarado said he fled Honduras last fall after exposing corruption in his hometown and was followed into Mexico by an armed group. Once he reached the United States, he believed he would be safe — even if that meant being detained while waiting for asylum.”

Fresh arrests evoke chilling memories for Azeri LGBT+

Umberto Bacchi- Reuters

“Police in Azerbaijan arrested four transgender sex workers this week in raids reminiscent of a mass crackdown in 2017 by the former Soviet state on its LGBT+ community, lawyers and rights activists said on Wednesday.”