Out in the World: Rainbow Railroad says resettlement has started for some LGBTQ Afghans


Rainbow Railrod announced that the first group of LGBTQ Afghan refugees arrived in the United Kingdom just before Halloween. They are safe, but hundreds more remain unsafe in Afghanistan and safe houses in neighboring countries, the organization said. But security breaches threaten the operation. The first group of 29 LGBTQ Afghans arrived in the United Kingdom October 29. The queer Afghans were evacuated by the U.K. government and Toronto-based Rainbow Railroad and UK-based Stonewall. “This is just the beginning of our efforts to help hundreds of LGBTQI+ individuals we are supporting in Afghanistan relocate to safety,” Rainbow Railroad Executive Director Kimahli Powell, stated in a release issued by the UK government. “We look forward to continuing to work with the UK government and other governments ready to follow their lead to help Afghans at risk.” Liz Truss, U.K. foreign secretary and minister for women and equalities, stated the country will continue to help at-risk Afghans leave the country. “Britain is a fierce champion of freedom and the right of all people to be themselves and love who they want free from persecution,” Truss stated in an October 30 UK government news release announcing the successful operation. Other countries have accepted LGBTQ refugees, Powell said, but those nations are not making their support public. A second, smaller group of five LGBTQ Afghans arrived in the UK on November 5, Stonewall confirmed with the Bay Area Reporter. Two of the gay Afghan refugees who arrived in the U.K. at the end of October were among those on Afghan American journalist and human rights activist Nemat Sadat’s list of now 557 LGBTQ Afghans he’s been working to evacuate and resettle in an LGBTQ-friendly country. Sadat confirmed that another gay Afghan refugee from his list arrived in the UK November 5.

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