Kimahli Powell, executive director of Rainbow Railroad, hosted an #HRCTwitterTakeover to mark World Refugee Day. Rainbow Railroad is one of the only organizations in the world helping LGBTQ people escape persecution — such as in Chechnya, where confirmed reports reveal ongoing crimes against humanity, including abductions, detentions, forced disappearances, torture, and even murder of men suspected of being gay or bisexual.
Since news of the anti-LGBTQ atrocities in Chechnya first broke more than a year ago, Rainbow Railroad has provided direct travel assistance and negotiated safe travel for more than 50 people impacted by the barbaric persecution. It has also worked with the Canadian government and other countries to help with direct assistance by way of emergency visas. In 2017, Rainbow Railroad helped more than 200 people from 14 different countries find safety.
Hi, this is @Kimahli Powell. I’m the executive director of @RainbowRailroad, a Canadian-based international organization that helps #LGBTQ individuals facing persecution escape to safety. I’m doing an #HRCTwitterTakeover today to mark #WorldRefugeeDay. pic.twitter.com/e0IH3Zr2XF— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
In the spirit of and with homage to the Underground Railroad, the mission of the @RainbowRailroad is to help #LGBTQ people as they seek safe haven from violence, murder or persecution. — @Kimahli #HRCTwitterTakeover https://t.co/uKUiZ39VUW pic.twitter.com/OtM7kpiork— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
Let’s start with 3 terms:— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
⚫Migrant: Anyone who chooses to leave their country of origin;
⚫Asylum seeker: Anyone seeking international protection;
⚫Refugee: An official designation for individuals forced to flee their country of origin.
Our work at @RainbowRailroad includes helping these individuals locate safe houses in their home countries, providing funds to individuals in hiding, creating travel arrangements and counselling for people looking to flee their homes. —@Kimahli #HRCTwitterTakeover pic.twitter.com/Wdcpw3wg3t— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
��Here’s the international situation: More than 70 countries around the world criminalize consensual same-sex intimacy. In just over half a dozen of those countries, same-sex intimacy is punishable with the death penalty. ��— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
—@Kimahli #HRCTwitterTakeover pic.twitter.com/B0jA3gGeTd
In Sept. 2017, at least 6 men were arrested for “promoting sexual deviancy” after waving a pride flag at a concert in Cairo. These arrests have led to a crackdown on the #LGBTQ community across Egypt. ���� —@Kimahli #HRCTwitterTakeover #WorldRefugeeDayhttps://t.co/xnyrh5cPCf— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
Since then dozens of #LGBTQ people were arrested & held without charge. Members of Egypt’s parliament have proposed legislation to explicitly criminalize same-sex relations and even showing support for the community in any way.— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
—@Kimahli #HRCTwitterTakeover #WorldRefugeeDay pic.twitter.com/yYc5Qdahln
In early 2017 the world cried out when reports broke from Chechnya describing abductions, detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and deaths targeting more than 200 men suspected of being gay or bisexual.—@Kimahli #HRCTwitterTakeover #WorldRefugeeDay https://t.co/jcZvBZ3Y7o— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
Earlier this month, I was honored to join @HRC and a Chechen refugee in DC for meetings with the @WhiteHouse and @StateDept to address the urgent need to open the US border to survivors of these atrocities. —@Kimahli #HRCTwitterTakeover #WorldRefugeeDay https://t.co/n7fSutmg4p— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
The Chechen refugee shared his story of being kidnapped from work, tortured in an abandoned building for weeks and forced to provide names of other gay men. —@Kimahli #HRCTwitterTakeover #WorldRefugeeDayhttps://t.co/agSx0PyKye pic.twitter.com/EfiZFdDUgZ— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
Last year we received more than 1,100 requests looking for help. Of those we resettled more than 200 people. Our work is about assessing the situation and determining where there are individuals at immediate risk who choose to leave. —@Kimahli #HRCTwitterTakeover #WorldRefugeeDay pic.twitter.com/7AVTqnrYjX— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
#LGBTQ refugees are particularly vulnerable to violence and abuse. Individuals are often referred to us by a local groups on the ground, like @EqualityJa in the Caribbean. Others find us on social media and reach out to us directly.— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018
—@Kimahli #HRCTwitterTakeover #WorldRefugeeDay pic.twitter.com/14iKUPyAcv
Some countries are more tricky to navigate because we haven’t yet identified routes to safety. Most of the people we assist end up in Western Europe. About 15% of the #LGBTQ folks we work with end up in Canada.—@Kimahli #HRCTwitterTakeover #WorldRefugeeDayhttps://t.co/jcZvBYMnfQ— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 20, 2018