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Fleeing Chechnya

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Published: 9.07.2017
Level 4   |   Time: 2:00
Accent: Canadian
Source: CBC News (09.04.2017)

From CBC News, a report about gay men fleeing persecution in Chechnya and finding safety in Canada.

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triangle Directions


  1. REVIEW the vocabulary / background.
  2. WATCH the video.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers. (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary


  • drag [v] - pull along the ground
  • beat [v] - to hit, kick, punch, etc.
  • torture [v] - to cause a lot of physical and emotional pain
  • a trunk [n] - the storage part of a car
  • interrogate [v] - lots of intense questions and accusations
  • electroshock [n] - sending strong electricity through someone's body
  • sanctioned [adj] - endorsed, they agree with
  • refugees [n] - people escaping some country/area
  • vulnerable [adj] - in a weak position or situation
  • a haven [n] - a place of safety and protection

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression


triangle Questions


  1. How is the man trying to protect his identity?
    by changing his voice
    by changing his name
    by changing his clothes
    by changing his address

  2. According to the Human Rights Watch video, what was happening to gay men in Chechnya?
    They were being killed.
    They were being beaten.
    They were being dragged.
    They were being tortured.

  3. How does the current situation compare with the situation of the past?
    It is better.
    It is worse.
    There is no change.
    It is unclear.

  4. The police took this man...
    to do some work.
    while he was working.
    because of his work.
    from his home.

  5. What is the 'last resort' form of torture?
    being beaten
    being kicked
    being hit by objects
    being electroshocked

  6. When the police asked for names of other gay people, what did the man do?
    He lied.
    He told the truth.
    He said nothing.
    he gave fake names.

  7. Why did the police arrest him?
    The government wanted them to do it.
    They were acting independently.
    They were paid.
    They thought he was a criminal.

  8. How did the government of Chechnya respond to this report?
    They said they didn't do it.
    They said they did it.
    They said no gay people live in Chechnya.
    They said they were protecting gay people.

  9. How many refugees have already arrived in Canada?
    13
    31
    12
    22



triangle Script



“I'm afraid for my life and most importantly I'm afraid for the lives of my family back home. “

This Chechen man didn't want his name or voice used. He arrived in Canada two months ago but he's still so scared he'll be recognized even these clothes aren't his own. Human Rights Watch released video last year of what it said was happening to gay men in Chechnya. Dragged, beaten, tortured.

Since then the group says the situation got even worse. He says in his case police grabbed him when he was at work, threw him in the trunk of a car, and took him to a secret Jail, interrogating him for three weeks. The torture was various - you're beaten, sometimes kicked, sometimes objects are used. But eventually the last resort is always electroshock.

“Just experiencing the electroshock once is enough to realize that you don't want anyone else to go through this.”

Officers demanded the names of other gay people and that he lied and gave fake names

Human rights groups say this was part of a state sanctioned operation in Chechnya. At the same time top Chechen officials deny there are any gay people there. The Canadian government worked with human rights groups to bring men to safety. So far 31 have been accepted as refugees here 22 have already arrived. The Prime Minister was asked yesterday about the secret operation.

“Canada will always stand up for rights and protect vulnerable peoples around the world.”

Rainbow Railroad was one of the groups that helped bring the men here.

“There are still reports of individuals being captured and tortured by authorities and so we expect even more individuals to try to find a haven.”

The young man we met has this message to others who haven't arrived yet:

“We're here. We're safe. And everything's fine.”

Brenda Braddock op CBC News Toronto

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