LGBT Ireland welcomes the White Paper which aims to end the privatised system of Direct Provision and to establish a new, human rights-based International Protection Support Service.

LGBT Ireland is pleased to see progress on many of the issues faced by LGBTI+ applicants highlighted in the LGBT Ireland 2019 submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality.

LGBT Ireland welcomes the driving principles of the White Paper, underpinned by a human rights-based approach and the commitment to integration beginning on day one. Initial Reception & Integration Centres with a wraparound support model and a move to independent living in cities and towns across Ireland after a maximum of four months is an ambitious target but one that is long overdue. We urge the Government to make all necessary resources available to meet this target as quickly as possible.

LGBT Ireland reiterates its call for a pathway for members of the LGBTI+ community seeking asylum to have access to specific supports. The White Paper rightly indicates recognition that LGBTI+ people may have experienced discrimination and persecution as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity and that the Vulnerability Assessment process will take account of their particular support needs. LGBT Ireland will monitor closely the work in the process of designing and implementing the new system of vulnerability assessments. It is crucial to ensure that staff charged with such a critical determinant of onward supports and pathways are appropriately trained and knowledgeable in the sensitivities and support needs of LGBTI+ applicants. Ongoing vulnerability assessment is also key to ensuring LGBTI+ applicants have disclosure opportunities at a time when they feel sufficiently safe in a new environment, system and culture. This often takes longer than four months and the acknowledgement of this in the White Paper is welcome.

The right to privacy in accommodation, with the provision of own door or own room living, is cautiously welcomed. With few LGBTI+ support organisations and services existing outside of cities, LGBTI+ applicants will need particular attention as they move to Phase 2 in order to ensure access to LGBTI+ services is possible. This connection and belonging is a core aspect of what integration will look and feel like for LGBTI+ applicants.

While there are many encouraging elements for members of the LGBTI+ community seeking International Protection, LGBT Ireland will continue to engage with public officials to ensure that timeframes are set and delivered upon. LGBT Ireland will continue to advocate for, support the development of initiatives to ensure that international human rights standards are respected and adhered to.