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

Newlyweds Sara Gilbert and Linda Perry are expecting their first child together

Gilbert reveals her pregnancy on the air this week on The Talk
No thumbnail available

Gay Star News partners with The Glass Closet to launch new business section

The Glass Closet – the book and website launched by Lord Browne of Madingley – has teamed up with Gay Star News to launch a new online resource on the world of business, workplace best practice and careers
No thumbnail available

2012 in gay news - part two

From Frank Ocean and Anderson Cooper coming out as gay to the ongoing homophobic saga of Chick-fil-A, GSN counts down the most important news of 2012
No thumbnail available

After the Oscars, Jimmy Kimmel joins Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi in bed

Late night host cozies up with couple and even brings his own fondue pot
No thumbnail available

Tutu: God demands I fight for gay rights

Archbishop Desmond Tutu says it’s not that he ‘wants’ to speak for LGBT rights ‘it’s God catching me by my neck’
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

World Pride party to stop traffic in London's gay village

Thousands at this year's Pride London will join a street party in Soho, featuring a dance arena, market and plenty of outdoor drinking
No thumbnail available

Zachary Quinto, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Jane Lynch among gays to snag Emmy nominations

Jim Parsons, Nathan Lane, Sarah Paulson, Dan Bucatinsky, Lily Tomlin, Tim Gunn, and John Benjamin Hickey also nominated
No thumbnail available

Santorum hit with chants of 'Bigot!' in New Hampshire

Presidential hopeful gets earful from crowd on final campaign stop
No thumbnail available

US study concludes that gay parents and their children are doing well

Critics of same-sex families may claim that having two moms or two dads goes against a child’s best interests, but yet another study had found this to not be the case