June 21st, 2019

Canada Must Do More to Protect LGBTQ2+ Refugees

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and NDP Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Critic Jenny Kwan made the following statement:
“Being LGBTQ2+ is a crime in more than 70 countries. And in 14 countries, people still face death or life imprisonment just for being who they are.

Globally, there are some 41.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and for many LGBTQ2+ individuals, they live in fear of persecution. They can be arbitrarily arrested, detained or attacked, and too often have no other choice but to flee their country to find safety. But they face significant barriers in finding a safe passageway to make an asylum claim, let alone to reach a country that will provide them with protection as even if they manage to flee to another country, their existence is often still criminalized in the first country they enter. As such, far too many still can’t find safe passage and remain in grave danger.

Canada used to have an immigration stream for the internally displaced, the Source-Country Class, but that was ended by the Harper government. New Democrats are calling for Canada to establish an updated program that provides a pathway to safety for internally displaced persons and establish a special measure to help resettle LGBTQ2+ IDPs.

To draw in the strength of refugee civil society organizations on the ground, New Democrats are calling on the government to work collaboratively with organizations like the Canadian Rainbow Coalition for Refugees to help resettle LGBTQ2+ people in Canada. The Rainbow Refugee Assistance Program (RRAP) has proven to be a successful and valuable pilot program. It is time for it to be made a permanent initiative with adequate long-term funding; and increase annual resettlement targets. As well, in order to ensure the success of LGBTQ2+ individuals after their arrival in Canada, we must also bolster our resettlement efforts by ensuring settlement agencies are properly funded and resourced with trauma informed and SOGI trained staff.

Canadians are proud of our humanitarian and compassionate effort. Let us continue to stand firm as a beacon of hope for persecuted LGBTQ2+ individuals.”