info 08.9.17

Rainbow Railroad
Every Person in New York

Among the world's many troubles, what is happening to gay Chechens has been an underreported story. The Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported the pogroms in April (it is harrowing to read), detailing the arrests, torture, and death of gay men solely because of their sexuality. Human Rights Watch provides an overview.

In June, journalist Amy Mackinnon pleaded America, don't abandon gay Chechens. As she explained, if these men were to seek asylum at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, they would be unlikely to receive it. That's because one of the U.S. conditions for asylum is proof of sufficient personal funds, something refugees from Chechnya, a poor region, are unlikely to have.

Canadian-based Rainbow Railroad was formed in response to this targeted torture and abuse. They are providing direct travel assistance to people who want to escape the dangers posed by remaining in Chechnya. So far this year, they have moved 118 people to safety.

The average travel cost per person is $10,000 and there are more than 80 people waiting for funds. And no doubt there are hundreds more still in the shadows. The American Friends of Rainbow Railroad, a 501(c)(3) charity, was created for American who want to give to this effort. Donate here. We must not look the other way.

Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for more at Jason's site and his book Every Person in New York.

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