Canada pledges to help Iran gays

Canada will help two Iranian gays, as well as make LGBT and women’s rights a corner stone of its international policy, say two Canadian ministers

Canada pledges to help Iran gays
18 September 2012

Canadian foreign affairs minister John Baird pledged that Canada has will continue to help and has aided ‘a large number’ of gays and lesbians immigrate from Iran, which renounces them for their homosexuality.

Too many countries have regressive and punitive laws that criminalize homosexuality,’ he said.

His speech at the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations on Friday (15 September) highlighted Canada’s efforts to promote the rights of women, as well as those of gays and lesbians abroad.

He also stated that Canada will defend the rights of women against forced marriage, violence and rape: ‘I’m not going to stay quiet on an issue that is morally wrong and deserves to be condemned. How can anyone defend the practice of having a nine-year-old girl forced into marriage? If Canada won’t speak up for these girls, who will?’

Baird said that Canada’s government has committed nearly $3 billion over five years to health funding for women and children, as well as $14 million for programs to end sexual violence and encourage women’s participation in emerging democracies.

Baird also mentioned that Canada’s immigration minister, Jason Kenney, ‘is working with groups that are active in this regard and helped a large number of people come to Canada’.  

Baird also praised Kenny for ‘working to make Canada a safe haven for Iran’s persecuted gay community.’

His statements come a week after Canada severed relations with Iran by pulling Canadian diplomats from Tehran and sending Iranian diplomats in Canada packing.

Following Baird’s pledges, Kenney stated that his country welcomed over 100 gay refugees from Iran since 2009.
Kenney said his country’s efforts include getting about 800 Iranian refugees currently in Turkey resetelled in Canada.

‘One of the things I did was to increase our resettlement target for refugees out of Turkey in general, partly to respond to the particularly acute resettlement needs of gay Iranian refugees but also other Iranian refugees like dissidents, journalists, Christians and Baha’is, all of whom face persecution,’ Kenney said in an interview with Postmedia News.

While Turkey is more tolerant than Iran towards homosexuality, many Iranian LGBT refugees face ‘secondary persecution’ there. Kenny will work with the Toronto-based Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees, a group that supports and advocates on behalf of gay Iranian asylum seekers to ensure that UN officials know that Canada is prepared to ‘fast-track’ those in ‘urgent need of resettlement’.

For a little over a year, Canada has also been assisting sponsored gay refugees with resettlement costs, he said.

Kenny said that while Canada does not track refugees and asylum claims by sexual orientation, he is aware of a small number of sponsored gay refugees from East Africa.

He also stated that pf the roughly 9,000 positive asylum claims approved by the Immigration and Refugee Board every year a couple of hundreds are likely related to sexual orientation.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Queens Park Rangers sign player banned for homophobic chant

Controversial signing comes after club asks fans to avoid discriminatory or inflammatory language
No thumbnail available

Nearly 600 Toronto schools introduce trans equality

Canadian schools will now ensure transgender equality for students and staff in new Toronto District School Board guidelines
Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago features LGBTI love stories in new digital campaign

Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago features LGBTI love stories in new digital campaign

It’s not the first travel brand to realize that gay people care greatly about finding travel accommodation where they feel welcome
No thumbnail available

Chinese erotic gay fiction site shut down

Founder of homoerotic fiction site imprisoned and fined, case reveals that most stories were written by young women around 20 years old
Ellen Page to play lesbian marine in Iraq war drama

Ellen Page to play lesbian marine in Iraq war drama

Lioness tells the true story of a closeted solider when it was still illegal to be gay in the military
No thumbnail available

Tatchell says Leveson Report will help protect gay private lives

Gay campaigner Peter Tatchell says tougher rules are needed on British press to stop LGBT hate and give right to reply for false allegations
This stained glass window can charge your phone

This stained glass window can charge your phone

Dutch designer gives solar power's aesthetic a serious overhaul
Which major American airline just partnered with the largest LGBTI group in Brazil?

Which major American airline just partnered with the largest LGBTI group in Brazil?

Link will help promote travel between Brazil and the US
No thumbnail available

New Mexico's attorney general will not challenge marriage licenses issued to gay couples

But warns they could become invalid if state Supreme Court later rules that same-sex marriage is not allowed
No thumbnail available

Wikileaks gay soldier faces pre-trial hearing

Maryland court to decide whether Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning will have full court-martial