US LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrant rights organisation “Immigration Equality” has awarded its first Safe Haven Corporate Award to Deutsche Bank, recognising the bank’s pro bono legal assistance in the fight for asylum for LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants facing persecution and brutality in their home countries.
Since 2018, the bank has represented seven individuals free of charge. Of those, four have been granted asylum and three cases are still pending. Sarah Levitt, who has led many of these efforts together with colleagues in the New York Legal team and in partnership with other departments of the bank, said: “Over the past few years, Deutsche Bank volunteers have given hundreds of hours of their free time working to help LGBTQ refugees escape persecution and discrimination. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the positive impact this work is having.”
Accepting the award on behalf of the bank at a virtual award ceremony that was streamed online, Joe Salama, Global Head of Litigation and Regulatory Enforcement and Interim General Counsel for the Americas said: “The work which has been accomplished is nothing short of saving lives. I want to thank Immigration Equality for the incredible job they do and for giving us the opportunity to be a part of it. I especially want to thank all my colleagues at the bank who have recognised these injustices and have worked so hard to do something about it.”
Founded in 1994, Immigration Equality represents and advocates for people from around the world fleeing violence, abuse, and persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status. As of today, it is still illegal to be gay in almost 80 countries around the world, and dangerous in many more. The Safe Haven Awards honour the dedication of attorneys and corporate supporters working pro bono to fight these injustices.
Deutsche Bank has had a long track record of corporate activism in supporting LGBTQ rights, including Amicus Curiae Briefs, public advocacy, and through all of the work of dbPride.