Canada says it will favor refugee claims by gay Russians


SURREY, British ColumbiaCanada’s Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said Monday that the country’s refugee board will favorably review asylum claims by LGBT people fleeing persecution in Russia.

Alexander said that Russia has taken the wrong path in restricting the fundamental rights of its gay community, referring to the recently passed law banning homosexual “propaganda,” which has caused a firestorm of global criticism and condemnation.

Alexander said that refugee claims “related to this particular issue will of course be looked at very seriously by our very generous system.”

Under Canadian law, gay asylum seekers are accepted in the same fashion as other persecuted groups.

Asylum seekers can file a claim after they arrive in Canada because they face persecution by their government, or because they are persecuted by others and their government does not offer protection.

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The Immigration and Refugee Board said that there are typically between 140 and 225 Russians a year who arrive in Canada and claim refugee status, and about half are usually accepted.

However, the agency said it does not keep reliable detailed statistics on how many claim asylum because they are fleeing persecution because of their sexual orientation.

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