RRANS CALLS FOR REPEAL OF "SAFE THIRD COUNTRY" AGREEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

CALL TO REPEAL “SAFE THIRD COUNTRY” AGREEMENT

RRANS CALLS FOR PROTECTION OF LGBTQ REFUGEES LEFT BEHIND BY AMERICAN LEGISLATION

 

FEBRUARY 1, 2017—The Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia calls for Prime Minister Trudeau to repeal the “Safe Third Country” agreement with the United States in response to President Donald Trump’s declaration banning refugees from seven countries, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, from entry to the United States.

As an organization working to privately sponsor LGBTQI refugees to Nova Scotia, provide information and support to LGBTQI newcomers, and combat racism and homophobia within our communities, we are particularly concerned about this ruling and its potential impact on vulnerable LGBTQI refugees. 

All countries on this list of prohibited countries, outlaw consensual same-sex contact, and six of these seven countries may apply the death penalty for consensual same-sex activity. This leaves the most vulnerable LGBTQI immigrants facing the possibility of being deported back to a country where they may face death, or returning to conditions in refugee camps and third countries that are particularly dangerous for people from sexual and gender minorities.

President Trump’s orders thus far have proven unpredictable and we are concerned about the future of human rights for both LGBTQI residents and immigrants in the United States. These words and actions have already been having an effect on immigration to Canada.

As per the Canada-US Safe Third Country agreement, we urge the Government of Canada to immediately review whether, as currently stated on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website, the United States “continues to meet the requirements for designation as a safe third country.” In particular, we are concerned that ongoing inconsistency in American policy will continue to leave refugees vulnerable to deportation or detention.

Given that the United States of America is clearly no longer a “safe” country for citizens of these nations, and particularly for their LGBTQI citizens, we call on the Canadian government to repeal the Safe Third Country amendment and put procedures in place to process applications from all asylum seekers from countries affected by the ban who are in the United States and wish to seek refuge in Canada, especially LGBTQI asylum seekers. We call on you to increase the number of refugees accepted in Canada in 2017 to accommodate individuals affected by this ban.

RRANS relies on the continued support of Nova Scotians to support these sponsored refugees and continue bringing others to Halifax. Representatives from RRANS are available to speak to media.

HOW TO HELP

Donations to RRANS can be made at http://www.rainbowrefugeens.com/welcome-home/

 

ABOUT

Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia (RRANS) is a grassroots, non-profit organization established to advocate for, support, and privately sponsor LGBTQI refugees seeking to re-settle in Nova Scotia.  

Since 2013, we’ve privately sponsored 9 refugees from Iran, Syria the Gambia, and provided social support to LGBTQI government-assisted refugees, refugees privately sponsored by other groups,  and asylum seekers.

LGBTQI refugees are one of the most isolated and brutalized groups of people worldwide; 75 nations criminalize same-sex relations and eight of these apply the death penalty. Refugees are criminalized by governments, often shunned by families, and can be ostracized within their community at large.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO SCHEDULE INTERVIEWS,

CONTACT rainbowrefugee.ns@gmail.com

 

Posted on February 3, 2017 .

Even More New Arrivals!

It never rains, but it pours.

That's what we're telling ourselves at the Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia. Fresh on the heels of one of our sponsored refugees arriving, we're now getting ready for the imminent arrival of new couple!

Thank you so much for the amazing support in starting the settlement process with a newcomer already this month, who is now set up in an apartment and beginning a new life in Halifax. Now, we need our supporters to go the extra mile, and help us support a male couple from the Middle East, arriving as early as next week. More specifics on our needs are below.

If you've already contributed everything you can this month, maybe this is a good time to forward this newsletter to your friends, or to share our Facebook posts looking for support. We rely very heavily on your generosity, and it makes an immediate and real difference in the lives of LGBTQI people looking for a new start.

And yes, there's a lesson here in how chaotic the refugee sponsorship system can be. We carefully plan how many people we can support in a given year, but the timing of their arrival is entirely beyond our control. We are always mobilizing donations and volunteers with little notice--and now, unexpectedly doing so twice in the same month. Your help is immensely appreciated.
 
IMMEDIATE SUPPORT NEEDED FOR NEW ARRIVAL
 
Our most urgent need, as previously, is for housing. We have a budget of up to $750 per month, and our ideal option would be a transit-accessible one bedroom apartment. If you have any leads, please let us know right away at rainbowrefugee.ns@gmail.com.

We will also be looking to furnish an apartment. We had a great response to our previous call for donations, but we're starting from scratch again--so we encourage you to circulate this list widely. Household items we are looking for include:

  • Kitchen table & chairs
  • Frying pans
  • Pots
  • Toaster
  • Good, sharp knives (large chef’s knife, bread knife and paring knife)
  • Dish cloths
  • Cutlery
  • Kettle
  • Silverware organizer (drawer insert)
  • Spatula, wooden spoons etc
  • Oven mitts
  • Dish drying rack
  • Rolls of aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic wrap, and parchment paper, ziplock bags
  • Ice cube trays
  • Can opener
  • Colander
  • Dish soap and sponges/scrubbers
  • Peeler
  • Teapot
  • Bottle opener
  • Lamps
  • Bed frame
  • Bedding for a queen size
  • Pillows
  • Shelving
  • Couches
  • Armchairs
  • Laundry basket
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand towels
  • Bath towels
  • Washcloths
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Shower curtain liner and rings
  • Bath soap, hand soap, shampoo, lotion, etc.
  • Toilet brush
  • Toilet plunger
  • Bath mat
  • Night stand
  • Hangers
  • Dresser
  • Cleaning supplies (e.g. rags, paper towels, sprays)
  • Laundry soap
  • Garbage and recycling bags
  • Small broom and dustpan
  • Extension cords
  • Full length mirror
  • Basic toolkit
  • Trash can x 2

Please contact us by email at rainbowrefugee.ns@gmail.com if you can provide any of these items. All donations are very much appreciated!

Posted on October 17, 2016 .

New arrival, and more!

 

We're happy to announce that we are imminently expecting another sponsored refugee to arrive in Halifax, as early as Tuesday, September 27. He is a refugee from the Middle East, and Rainbow Refugees of Nova Scotia has been working for some years to secure his arrival. All of that work will pay off very soon!

As with every new arrival, RRANS needs your help. We have an urgent need to arrange short- and long-term housing, and are also searching for donated items. Read more below about how you can help out.

We'd like to make you aware of a new report from the Dignity Initiative, offering insights for Canadian organizations and individuals who want to support LGBTQI rights internationally. Read more below.

Finally, thanks to all who supported RRANS during Halifax Pride in July. It was an incredible opportunity to bring attention to the organization and gather support for our work. We couldn't do it without your support!

IMMEDIATE SUPPORT NEEDED FOR NEW ARRIVAL
Our most urgent need is for housing. We have a budget of $400-$500 per month, so renting a room in a house would be ideal. Language will not be an issue as this individual speaks excellent English. If you have any leads, please let us know right away at rainbowrefugee.ns@gmail.com.

Other household items we are looking for include:

  • Kitchen table & chairs
  • Frying pans
  • Pots
  • Toaster
  • Good, sharp knives (large chef’s knife, bread knife and paring knife)
  • Dish cloths
  • Cutlery
  • Kettle
  • Silverware organizer (drawer insert)
  • Spatula, wooden spoons etc
  • Oven mitts
  • Dish drying rack
  • Rolls of aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic wrap, and parchment paper, ziplock bags
  • Ice cube trays
  • Can opener
  • Colander
  • Dish soap and sponges/scrubbers
  • Peeler
  • Teapot
  • Bottle opener
  • Lamps
  • Bed frame
  • Bedding for a queen size
  • Pillows
  • Shelving
  • Couches
  • Armchairs
  • Laundry basket
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand towels
  • Bath towels
  • Washcloths
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Shower curtain liner and rings
  • Bath soap, hand soap, shampoo, lotion, etc.
  • Toilet brush
  • Toilet plunger
  • Bath mat
  • Night stand
  • Hangers
  • Dresser
  • Cleaning supplies (e.g. rags, paper towels, sprays)
  • Laundry soap
  • Garbage and recycling bags
  • Small broom and dustpan
  • Extension cords
  • Full length mirror
  • Basic toolkit
  • Trash can x 2

Please contact us by email at rainbowrefugee.ns@gmail.com if you can provide any of these items. All donations are very much appreciated!

 

The Dignity Initiative is a network of organizations and individuals from across Canada interested in encouraging a stronger Canadian voice on human rights issues facing LGBTQI communities around the world. The initiative has the twin objectives of strengthening both solidarity work by Canadian civil society groups and Canada’s foreign policy commitment to the realization of human rights for LGBTQI people internationally.

We encourage RRANS supporters to review their two recent reports. "Advancing Dignity" contains their recommendations for how Canada's foreign policy and refugee policy can better support LGBTQI people. And we particularly noted "Solidarity for Dignity", which outlines best practices and case studies of how Canadian civil society organizations are currently supporting global human rights movements for LGBTQI people.

It's important when doing this work to operate on a "do no harm" principle, listen to the voices of global activists, and learn from others who have come before us. These reports offer some great insights towards that end.

Find the reports on Dignity Initiative's website, here: http://www.dignityinitiative.ca/en/

Posted on September 25, 2016 .

Help us reach our $5000 goal with the Bridgetown Triathlon!

Help us reach our $5000 goal with the Bridgetown Triathlon!

RRANS is including a team at the Bridgetown Triathlon to raise awareness and funds to help resettle LGBTQI refugees in Halifax. The triathlon is a personal challenge, standing in for the challenges many LGBTQI refugees face when trying to escape persecution. By racing in this triathlon, we hope to shed light on the challenges LGBTQI refugees face, and overcome, in order to be free.

Participants are doing various distances: olympic triathlon (1.5km swim, 50km bike, 10km run), sprint triathlon (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run), try-tri (300m swim, 10km bike, 3km run), individual and relay teams.

To make an online donation, please visit our GoFundMe page or click on the button below:

"Last Chance" Movie Screening

Watch the stories of five LGBTQ asylum seekers unfold as they seek refuge from homophobic violence.

Guests are invited to tour Canada's Immigration Museum at Pier 21 on Tuesday, July 21st at 6pm. At 7pm, “Last Chance” by Emile D'Entremont will be screened at the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Theatre at Pier 21.

"Last Chance" tells the stories of five asylum seekers who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canadian society, fear deportation and anxiously await a decision that will change their lives forever. Afterwards there will be a Q&A session with director Emile D'Entremont and Emilie Coyle from RRANS

This event is presented in partnership with the Halifax Pride Festival and Pier 21. Admission is free.

RRANS Info Session

Learn all about what we do and how you can help!

As part of Halifax Pride, we are having an Information Session in the RBC Learning Centre on the 3rd floor of the Halifax Central Library from 5pm to 6pm on Monday, July 20th.

This session will be led by RRANS Chair Corrie Melanson and will likely include some of the refugees we have sponsored. Come and learn about how you can be further involved with our organization! 

Why we fundraise...

Who are we and what do we do? Watch our new video to learn more about us and why we fundraise. And remember, donations of $25 or more* made before Dec 31st, 2014 will be matched by a generous private donor - which means that your money will go twice as far! Maximize your contribution and watch as your donation of:

  • $25 becomes $50
  • $50 becomes $100
  • $100 becomes $200
Posted on December 29, 2014 and filed under Donations.

New LGBTQI Refugee Lands in Halifax, Nova Scotia

We are very happy to announce the arrival of a new refugee from Iran that we were able to sponsor because of donations from awesome people like YOU. Our newest arrival* landed last week and is in his early 20s. A big thank you to all who donated funds, furniture and household goods. As a result, we were able to set up his apartment in record time!

Posted on December 5, 2014 and filed under Update.