Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said yesterday that asylum requests from LGBT Russians who claim persecution will be seriously considered.
Chris Alexander said Monday in Surrey, B.C., that Russia has taken the wrong path in restricting the fundamental rights of its gay community, and that any refugee claims “related to this particular issue will of course be looked at very seriously by our very generous system.” Lawyer Rob Hughes, who is representing two gay Russian men claiming refugee status in Canada, says he expects more Russians to make claims based on sexual orientation. “It’s quite encouraging … It is very positive news,” he added about Mr. Alexander’s statement. “People are not feeling safe there.” Canada also resettles refugees living in camps abroad, and former immigration minister Jason Kenney, now the Employment and Social Development Minister, adopted a policy of trying to resettle gay refugees fleeing Iran and Iraq. Mr. Kenney said in January he “cannot think of a more obvious case of persecution.” There are typically between 140 and 225 Russians a year who arrive in Canada and claim refugee status, and about half are usually accepted. The Immigration and Refugee Board said it does not keep reliable detailed statistics on how many claim asylum because they are fleeing persecution because of their sexual orientation.
(Tipped by JMG reader David)