Gay refugees from Iran arrive to warm welcome in Halifax

Published: November 20, 2013

After years of living in fear of persecution, a gay couple from Iran is safe on Canadian soil.

The Halifax-based group that sponsored the couple’s move to Canada met them at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport with open arms on Wednesday.
Navid and Hadi, who asked to keep their last names private, fled from Iran two years ago. They say homosexuality is shunned and punishable by death in the Middle Eastern country so they decided to flee to Turkey.
 
“This is not like that here. Here we are free,” says Navid, after arriving in Halifax.
When the Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia heard about the couple through a Toronto-based refugee agency, the organization decided to sponsor them and bring them to Halifax.
The couple has been given an apartment and a fresh start.
“We got all the furnishings donated. A lot of the money, all of the money that we are supporting them with for the first year has been donated,” says Corrie Melanson of the Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia.
The goal is for Navid and Hadi to be self-sufficient within the year.
Navid is a computer programmer who speaks English, Turkish and Farsi, while Hadi wants to study English.
But first they need to get comfortable with their new surroundings and way of life.

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