Obama plans to take in gay Syrian refugees as a ‘priority’
The White House has confirmed that the United States will join the list of countries that are prioritising LGBT refugees in Syria.
The terrorist group know as Daesh/Islamic State has publicly executed dozens of gay men across Iraq and Syria, with local LGBT communities often forced to flee for their lives.
Amid worsening conditions in war-torn Syria, a number of countries have committed to taking a number of Syrians through resettlement schemes.
The priority is focussed on those most vulnerable – women, children, the disabled and survivors of violence – with both Canada and the United Kingdom confirming that LGBT Syrians will be among those protected across their schemes.
Today, the United States has also pledged to prioritise LGBT Syrians, with Obama’s Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirming the news.
He told the Washington Blade that the US would not adopt a set ‘quota’ of LGBT refugees, but would instead include them among individuals “deemed to be the most vulnerable”.
Responding to a call to accept 500 LGBT Syrians, Mr Earnest said: “When it comes to our refugee resettlement efforts, the United States does not set aside quotas like what you just described.
“But what the United States does do, in terms of resettling refugees, is prioritize the cases of those who are deemed to be the most vulnerable — those who have been subjected to acts of torture, those who have been singled out because of their minority status in one way or another.”
The White House official added that LGBT people would be among the groups facing persecution that would be given priority.
Earnest said: “There are no quotas that are set aside, but the process that we have implemented does prioritize the cases of those who have been subjected to torture, including like the torture that you described, or might have been singled out for their status as a minority, whether that’s a racial minority or an ethnic minority or a religious minority, or an LGBT person.”
He also said: “It is certainly no secret that there are a variety of ways in which [ISIS] offend those basic rights and trample those rights.”
The US has committed to accept a further 10,000 Syrian refugees, though the plans are staunchly opposed in some Republican states.