Plight of rainbow refugees highlighted at Mardi Gras: humanitarian intake must increase urgently

Amnesty International Australia will highlight the situation of LGBTQIA+ refugees at its annual float at Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade on Saturday evening.

As the crisis unfolds in Ukraine, the float will draw attention to the challenges members of the rainbow community face when fleeing persecution.

Co-founder of Forcibly Displaced People Network, Renee Dixson, said: “During times of crisis such as in Syria, Afghanistan or right now in Ukraine, LGBTIQ+ people are targeted with more force. We have seen this with the Taliban in Afghanistan and we now see this with Russians claiming to have a list of LGBTIQ+ people in Ukraine they plan to kill”.

“The Australian Government has shown that it can respond quickly. For Ukrainians fleeing the Russian war it is a very welcome step. But this should not be an exception. The Australian government must guarantee an immediate 20,000 additional humanitarian places, permanent protection offered to people on temporary protection visas in Australia and fast-tracked family reunion. LGBTIQ+ people along other marginalised communities must be prioritised,” the spokesperson said.

Amnesty International Australia Refugee Advisor, Dr Graham Thom, said: “Every single person fleeing conflict has the right to seek safety in other countries and is entitled to protection without discrimination. Parties to the conflict must, and indeed are legally obliged to, make every effort to minimise civilian suffering and prioritise addressing humanitarian concerns in this crisis”.

“The Australian Government has cut our refugee intake by 5000 since 2020, which in light of crises like those in Myanmar, Afghanistan and now Ukraine is absolutely devastating. We must increase our humanitarian intake.

“Australians are ready and willing to help and we urge Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to offer more humanitarian places as a matter of urgency.”