22 Gay Men Rescued from Chechnya by Canada's Rainbow Railroad

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(EDGE) As the Trump Administration continues to barely pay lip service to the reported abuse, torture and murder of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, a group of Canadians is springing action like latter day Harriet Tubmans.

According to a report published by CBC, in response to the reports that young gay men in Chechnya were being kidnapped, beaten and even hunted down and killed by members of their own families, the Canadian government has sprung into action. According to LGBTQ human rights group Rainbow Railroad, 22 of the 31 young men who have been offered asylum in Canada have landed safely in the North American country.

"It's very exciting to see the optimism in their eyes," Kimalhi Powell, executive director of Rainbow Railroad told CTV News Channel on Friday.

He added that the Chechens in Canada are "going to need a lot of support," because many have experienced trauma and they do not speak much English.
Powell said he hopes the partnership with the Canadian government can be used as a model to save more persecuted people.

"My soul aches," said a young gay man to a CBC news crew. Although safely in Canada, the young refugee is terrified of repercussions from the government of Chechnya. "It aches for everyone who went through this ordeal, everyone who's going through it," he said. The man said he braved the interview as "my way of saying thank you to everyone involved in getting us out."

CTV reports that Rainbow Railroad says it has helped more than 140 persecuted individuals escape to safe countries in 2017.

In some countries, such as Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Yemen, homosexuality is punishable by the death penalty.

For information on Rainbow Railroad, visit www.rainbowrailroad.ca

 


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