St Kitts man loses bid for asylum in Canada

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TORONTO, Canada (CMC) — A man born in St Kitts-Nevis, who reportedly fled his homeland after claiming he was the victim of repeated homophobic attacks, is facing deportation by Canadian authorities.

Rolson Ryan, 31, has had his bid for asylum in Canada denied by the country’s Immigration and Refugee Board.

The Toronto Star reports that, despite Ryan saying that he would “face a serious possibility of persecution” as a gay man if he returned to his homeland, the Board denied the refugee claim because Judge Brenda Lloyd said “the Government of St Kitts and Nevis provides adequate protection to its citizens.”
A subsequent appeal to the refugee appeal tribunal was also rejected in 2014 on the same grounds.
The newspaper reports that Ryan was attacked twice by mobs and was subsequently taken to the hospital, but charged that “no police report was taken in either incident.”

He fled St Kitts-Nevis for Toronto in 2013 with help from Rainbow Railroad, a Toronto-based group that helps rescue sexual minorities abroad to safety in Canada.

Joel Dick, a lawyer who, along with his wife Dara Douma sheltered Ryan for five months at the request of a friend at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, said that he does not “believe St Kitts, where being gay is criminalised, can protect Ryan”.

“I didn’t know there were places that helped gay men,” said Ryan, who now works in a bakery factory in Toronto. “It is really tough being gay there. You have to do everything hidden. It is a very small, tight country. If people know that you are gay, they are going to beat you up.”

Douma and Dick, along with their families and close friends, are helping to fund a new appeal to the federal court against the appeal tribunal’s latest decision, according to the Star.

“In Canada, Rolston is out and happy,” Dick said. “He has a life and can live as himself. He is still reserved and private, but he feels secure here and is less invisible because he doesn’t have to hide who he is.”

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