Thank you, Mr. Nasution, for sharing your experience.
The reach of our organization has truly become international owing to the many people who have suffered injustices because they are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Foundation of Hope trusts that our briefings provide ample evidence for recommendation of the continuance of the rainbow RAP. We are here today to offer perspective. As a former private sponsor and co-founder of Foundation of Hope, I am here today as a human being and as a Canadian citizen.
Our organization has worked over three years through the generosity of the LGBT+ community and our allies. On June 11, 2016, we raised over $45,000 in our premier fundraising event through grassroots efforts. Less than 12 hours later, 50 human beings were killed in what President Obama came to call the single largest mass shooting in American history. This is a nation that prides itself on being the epicentre of the free world. Two days later, this government voted against a motion to recognize such atrocities on the basis of ethnicity, religion, and sexuality as a form of genocide.
Protecting transgender rights and the commitment by the Prime Minister to fight homophobia are important milestones, but Canada has a ways to go. His own father sat in this very House and declared famously, "There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation." His historic bill decriminalizing homosexuality achieved royal assent on June 27, 1969. Again, less than 12 hours later, ironically, four New York policemen busted into the Stonewall Inn, where violence erupted and started the modern LGBT rights movement in the U.S.
It has been less than a year since Orlando, and almost 50 years since the Stonewall riots, but gay men are being thrown off buildings in Syria and Iraq. Lesbian women are being raped and murdered all across the African continent. In a city in northern Brazil earlier this year, a transwoman was dragged into the street, beaten, and brutally murdered while onlookers filmed it and posted it on Facebook. As I speak, a hundred men are being detained in a concentration camp in the southern republic of Chechnya.
Detainment and murder of millions of individuals occurred in World War II on the basis of ethnicity, religion, and sexuality. Considering the motion voted down last June, does this Parliament not equate terms like “ethnic cleansing” and “Holocaust” with “genocide”?
This is a moral issue. It must rise above partisan camps. This is the worst humanitarian crisis in our history. To sit in a political camp and ignore injustices beyond our borders is a choice. It sits in stark contrast to working across party lines to do what's morally right as a nation so revered in its respect for human rights across the world. I guess the real question is, in which camp does the government choose to sit?
Private sponsorship of queer refugees takes donors, volunteers, and government support. Applications to IRCC are challenging, especially around regions like Chechnya, where processing times can exceed four years, as Ms. Hébert has pointed out. If the Government of Canada is serious about the LGBT private sponsorship programs, or LGBT rights in general, the rainbow RAP is essential to this work.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity to express our feelings.