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Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender refugees will join vulnerable women and children as priority cases for asylum, the Norwegian government has announced.

Acknowledging that persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation is a valid reason for seeking to move to another country, Secretary of State for Integration Affairs, Grunde Kreek Almeland explained: “In nearly 70 countries, homosexuality is criminal and those who violate gender and sexuality norms may be subject to persecution and discrimination in their home country.

“We are now changing the guidelines for the work of transfer refugees so that [LGBT] people…should be given priority.”

In their annual report, ILGA-Europe ranked Norway fifth in the continent for LGBT+ human rights in 2020, including an 84% rating for asylum issues.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the international settlement of asylum seekers across the world.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UHNCR) and the United Nations International Organisation for Migration are hoping to resume global operations for refugees after a temporary halt.

In 2020, Norway was set a “floating quota” to welcome 3,000 transfer refugees each year.

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