Canada Offers Refugee Status for Gay Russians seeking a Safe Haven

Chris Alexander - Image via Facebook

Chris Alexander – Image via Facebook

Russians suffering under Putin’s anti-gay law may be able to seek refuge in Canada. On Monday, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said that Russia has embarked on the wrong path in restricting the rights of the LGBT community.  He said that any Russian gay refugee whose claims are “related to this particular issue will of course be looked at very seriously by our very generous system.”

Attorney Rob Hughes who currently represents two Russian gay men who are seeking asylum in Canada said that the decision made by the Canadian government is “quite encouraging.”

Canada has been known for offering refuge to LGBT people living in homophobic states, and also resettles refugees who live in [refugee] camps in other countries.  Former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney adopted a policy that seeks to resettle gay refugees who are fleeing from Iraq and Iran.  In January Kenney said that he “cannot think of a more obvious case of persecution.”

The Canadian government has also expressed their objection to Russia’s anti-sodomy law. To show solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia, two Canadian Olympians marched in Vancouver Pride.

It is not clear how many LGBT people have sought refugee status in Canada, but it is reported that every year approximately 140-225 Russians seek asylum in Canada. [TR]

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