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Refugees are welcome: Law Centre NI’s message at this year’s Belfast Pride Parade

28th July, 2022

Law Centre NI is excited to be taking part in this year’s Belfast Pride Parade.

For the first time, staff, family and friends from Law Centre NI will be walking in the parade and will be using the occasion to carry the message that refugees and asylum seekers are welcome in Northern Ireland.

During Pride Week we will also be highlighting the struggles faced by LGBTQIA+ refugee and asylum seekers, who have often been persecuted in their own country and face further stigmatism and isolation when they come to the UK.

Niamh Rowan from the Migration Justice Project at Law Centre NI said:

“It is important to remember that LGBTQIA+ people are criminalised in 70 countries worldwide and can face the death penalty in 11 countries. The government tells those seeking sanctuary to use ‘legal routes’, but there is a lack of safe and legal routes for same-sex attracted and gender diverse people to come to the UK. They are often left with no choice but to use irregular - sometimes dangerous - routes.

The difficulties don’t end when they arrive in the UK. Often LGBTQIA+ refugees can struggle to be accepted within refugee communities and can also face barriers to integration within the local community due to a lack of understanding and stigma.

Pride has its roots in protest and the struggle for rights. The Migration Justice Project is proud to walk alongside LGBTQIA+ people seeking sanctuary in Northern Ireland and our message is clear: “Refugees are welcome!”