Published Monday, Aug. 12 2013, 10:40 PM EDT
Last updated Monday, Aug. 12 2013, 10:50 PM EDT
Canada’s refugee board is likely to look favourably on claims of persecution by gay asylum-seekers from Russia, the Immigration Minister says.
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.”
Russia has passed a new law banning gay “propaganda” – a catch-all that prohibits gay pride events and providing information to minors on “non-traditional” relationships, and exposes those who express pro-gay views to prosecution. Foreigners can be hit with fines of about $3,000, and 15 days in a Russian jail.
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.” (…)