ontario news watch

Liberals pledge $1.7M for persecuted LGBTQ+ people abroad

OTTAWA — The federal government has announced it will give $1.7 million to groups supporting gender and sexual minorities abroad.

That follows activists’ criticisms that Ottawa is too slow to follow through with its funding promises, and that it should be more forceful in responding to anti-gay legislation in some countries.

Liberal MP Anita Vandenbeld made the announcement at a conference of the Dignity Network, a coalition of Canadian groups that support LGBTQ+ people abroad.

Activists from around the world who are attending the conference are praising the move to help protect vulnerable people, but they’re also asking why it has taken so long. 

Global Affairs Canada says the COVID-19 pandemic and a lengthy consultation process has delayed funding for LGBTQ+ groups, but the department says it plans to ramp up spending.

Activists are also urging Canada to call out homophobic legislation in Uganda and Ghana, saying sustained pressure is needed to prevent a further rollback of human rights. 

The funding includes $1 million for a project led by the U.S. aid department to research how groups in multiple countries can undercut stigma and also respond to crises.

The rest of the funding is for Toronto-based Rainbow Railroad to examine the forced displacement of gender and sexual minorities worldwide, by helping governments understand the perspectives of those fleeing to safety.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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