Support LGBTIQ Activists from the MENA Area (SALMA)
SALMA PROJECT - JUNE 2019
LGBTIQ in the MENA region is usually facing different kinds of taboos and restrictions,
either social, religious or political. For instance, homosexuality is illegal in almost all
countries in the region (except Jordan and Oman), and often liable to jail sentences or
even death penalty (like in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan). In recent years, the few
signs of progress witnessed during the "Arab spring" have quickly set space to more
repression from various governments: prohibition of Shams association in Tunisia,
cancellation of the LGBT Pride in Beirut (the only one in the Arab world), systemic
repression in Egypt, trials in Morocco... In all the region, the LGBTIQ community now
faces backlash from reactionary forces, social and religious pressure, and their rights
are systematically denied.
Objectives and mission:
Following numerous testimonies, calls for support and feedback from on-the-field team
members, ANKH association has decided to set up the Salma project to help and support
LGBTIQ people from the MENA region facing difficulties in their country of residence due
to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The word 'Salma' meaning 'Peace' in Arabic, this projects also carries a message of hope
and tolerance towards the societies and people living in the region.
With this project, we wish to provide to LGBTIQ individuals from the MENA region:
An online, safe and welcoming platform for advice and psychological support, available in 3 languages (Arabic, French, English);
Legal advice and material solutions to improve the lives of LGBTIQ individuals;
An international network of action and awareness campaigns to respond to the challenges faced by the LGBTIQ community.
Care, advice, and psychological support
Through the various social media platforms set up by ANKH association and its related campaigns, but also through a network of partners and volunteers in different Mediterranean countries, ANKH provides safe and anonymous contact points for LGBTIQ individuals facing difficulties, in 3 languages (Arabic-French-English).
We offer them the possibility to talk freely and without judgment about topics that they generally can't talk to with their relatives, but also psychological support and advice in order to find solutions to the problems that they might be facing.
"Know More" was one of the first campaigns launched by ANKH association in 2018. This sexual health campaign aims to raise awareness towards Arab-speaking audiences on STDs, but also topics related with sexual orientation and gender identity, by providing reliable information written or translated in Arabic HIV prevention is one of the main aspects of the campaign.
Within a few months, the campaign has grown very quickly, reaching thousands of people in different Mediterranean countries.
Administrative and legal support
ANKH association supports LGBTIQ individuals from the MENA region in their legal and administrative procedures: access to health care, asylum, opening bank accounts, housing... We also put them in touch, when needed, with local lawyers or organizations specialized in the relevant field (health care, housing, immigration...).
We also translate and publish guides on LGBTIQ individuals' rights in various contexts (health care, privacy policies...) to be distributed to professionals and the general audience.
As much as possible, and in collaboration with our network of partners in different countries, we try to provide material solutions to LGBTIQ individuals facing difficulties: emergency housing, access to medicines, emergency funds...
Focus on LGTBIQ asylum seekers in Europe
The Salma project aims to support LGBTIQ individuals from MENA countries, regardless of their country of residency or their administrative status. Due to the numerous challenges that they are facing in the region, many of them have no choice but to leave their country of origin where
their life or health is under threats. For these reasons, we are regularly contacted by LGBTIQ indiviuals fron the MENA region but residing in an European country. There, they are facing different kinds of challenges, due to the administrative procedures, but also their integration in
their new country of residence, their relations with other categories of migrants or with their respective communities.
SUPPORT TO LGBTIQ REFUGEES
ANKH association supports LGBTIQ refugees and asylum seekers in various ways:
Administrative procedures ANKH association supports LGBTIQ individuals in their administrative procedures: asylum process, access to social rights... We also put them in touch with specialized lawyers or organizations.
Housing ANKH tries to provide temporary housing solutions in safe spaces for LGBTIQ individuals within its network of partners and allies.
Finances ANKH association doesn't have a proper budget to financially support refugees in Europe, but we try as much as possible to find material solutions or put the individuals in touch with organizations that might provide emergency funds.
Integration ANKH association helps LGBTIQ refugees integrate in their country of residency by offering educative or cultural activities, and by sharing initiatives with their local partners.