A long refugee process in Canada could put a gay man’s life at risk in Afghanistan.
The man, who CBC has called Anwar, but whose identity is protected, was outed in his home country as a gay man, and is now living in hiding and on the run as he waits and hopes for asylum in Canada. He has already waited a year and a half to make it to British Columbia.
Now, New Democratic Party immigration critic Jenny Kwan is calling on the federal government to intervene and expedite the process.
"Given the urgency and dire situation, I am requesting the minister to take the exceptional step of directly intervening and using the Urgent Protection Program to immediately resettle this individual to Canada. If we act immediately, we could save a life," Kwan told CBC.
Anwar was kicked out of his house when the Afghan police outed him as a homosexual, according to CBC. His father threatened to kill him, as did his uncle.
Kwan suspects that Anwar will not be cleared to come to Canada until 2021 unless the government steps in.
The Canadian government recently spearheaded a secret program that quietly snuck gay men into the country from Chechnya, so there is arguably a precedent for intervention.
A case like Anwar’s is estimated to result in a 65-month wait — more than five years, according to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.
Rainbow Refugee and a group in Chilliwack, BC, are working together to sponsor Anwar. Sharalyn Jordan, of Rainbow Refugee, has said this is the group’s highest priority case.
Though Anwar is currently in hiding and on the move, he told CBC that in September his cousins found him and beat him.
"Every day, every day I'm thinking, tomorrow, what will happen to me? Maybe someone kills me or sometimes ... honestly I'm thinking about how I kill myself. What should I do to stop my life? After about two or three hours, my mind will change," he told CBC.
The UN Refugee Agency considers Afghanistan to be one of the most dangerous places for members of the LGBT community. Participating in same-sex sexual acts is punishable with jail time and can even result in the death penalty under Shariah law.
For now, all Anwar can do is wait.
Global Citizen campaigns on issues like this that relate to citizenship rights. You can take action here.