Violence against LGBT Russians prompts change in Canadian deportation policy
In this photo taken on Friday, April 28, 2017, Anzor, a gay man who spoke to the Associated Press on condition that he not be further identified out of fear for his safety and that of his family. He is from Chechnya, the predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia where some 100 men suspected of being gay were detained and tortured, and at least three of them were killed. (AP Photo / Nataliya Vasilyeva)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, June 30, 2017 3:50PM EDT
OTTAWA - Canada is giving some failed asylum seekers from Russia a chance to stave off deportation, saying conditions in that country have changed.
The Immigration Department says reports of violence against the LGBTQ community in Chechnya mean people could be at risk if they're forced to return.
The department says that means people from Russia may now be eligible for a pre-removal risk assessment if they received a final decision on their case between July 1, 2016, and June 30 of this year.
The PRRA, as it is known, allows those slated for deportation to argue they cannot be sent back to their country of origin for safety reasons.
Currently, people whose asylum claims are not accepted can't apply for a PRRA for at least 12 months, but the immigration minister has the authority to exempt some or all people from that restriction.
Refugee advocates have been pushing the Liberal government to make it easier for members of the Russian LGBTQ community to get to and stay in Canada after reports emerged earlier this year that gay and bisexual men were being imprisoned and tortured in Chechnya.