Canada has discreetly granted asylum to 31 gay and bisexual men from Chechnya working with the NGO Rainbow Railroad, said the group’s directer.
Kimahli Powell, executive director of the Toronto-based NGO, said in a Facebook message that his organisation had been able to help 31 LGBTQ people leave Russia and be granted asylum in Canada. “We have been working on a programme with the Canadian government that allowed the entry of persecuted LGBTQ Chechens into the country he told CBC, pointing out that the Canadian government had played a “major role.”
The Globe and Mail wrote that “Canada has been secretly giving asylum to gay Chechens fleeing persecution (which could) further impair already tense relations between Russia and Canada. ”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday that Canada “is proud to stand up and defend rights. LGBTQ rights here and around the world are extremely important to us. Canada will always stand up for rights and protect vulnerable people around the world.”
Rainbow Railroad, founded in 2006, aims to help LGBT people flee persecution by state actors.