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Refugee and Asylum Claims
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Canada was one of the first countries worldwide to recognize that people who face harm based on their sexual orientation should be entitled to protection. That protection extends to people who face harm based upon their HIV status, and HIV positive people who are denied medical treatment for reasons of discrimination.  The definition of persecution is open ended and flexible, ranging from experiences of violence and torture to death threats to severe discrimination.


Canada’s refugee protection system requires that those seeking protection are entitled to a personal hearing so that they can explain their story fully. Canadian refugee decision makers are given specific training on issues presented by LGBT claimants. Claimants are given the opportunity to work and to access health care during the processing of their claims. Importantly, refugee protection claimants are also entitled to a lawyer of their choice. Refugee protection claims based on sexual orientation require are unique. It is important for LGBT claimants to be represented by counsel who are knowledgeable about the LGBT experience and about the conditions for members of the LGBT community worldwide.

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