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Canada helped gays escape Iran: foreign affairs minister

Canada has helped “a large number” of gays and lesbians emigrate from Iran, which renounces them for their homosexuality, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Friday.

Canada’s immigration minister, Jason Kenney, “is working with groups that are active in this regard and helped a large number of people come to Canada,” he said in response to a question after a speech on Canadian values.

His speech at the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations touted Canada’s efforts to promote the rights of women, as well as those of gays and lesbians abroad.

“Too many countries have regressive and punitive laws that criminalize homosexuality,” he said.

Baird also noted the death of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato, who was beaten to death last year.