The three things the Russian and Chechen governments must do to protect gay men


Labour peer and LGBT+ campaigner Waheed Alli has called upon the Russian and Chechen governments to account for the gay men who have been detained in Chechnya in recent weeks.

Respected Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that around 100 gay men had been rounded up by police and detained in what is widely being referred to as a modern-day ‘concentration camp’.

Three men are feared dead after violent raids, as authorities targeted men “in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such”.

Human Rights Watch later confirmed the horrific reports, adding that the information coming through was “consistent” with “numerous trusted sources” they had spoken to on the ground in Russia.

In a new piece for Progress Online, Waheed Alli has outlined the three things both the Russian and Chechen governments must now do.

“Chechen authorities have refused to stop the arrests, with one government spokesman denying that there are even LGBT people in Chechnya at all, saying, ‘you cannot arrest and repress those who simply aren’t in the republic’,” he wrote.

“The Russian government likewise has also refused to intervene, telling the victims to ‘file official complaints and go to court,’ which will ring hollow given the nature of the rule of law in such cases, especially when so-called ‘honour killings’ are common place in the Northern Caucuses.

The ‘camp’ where men are reportedly being held on suspicion of being gay

“The Chechen and Russian governments must therefore do three things.

“First, explain and account for those who have been detained with details of their status and health. Second, pledge that such illegal detentions will not be tolerated and these existing cases will be investigated.

“And third, that those who have been targeted will be given safe transport out of the region to safety.”

Waheed also added that the Russian LGBT Network has received numerous requests for help in the past few weeks, as they try to evacuate gay men at risk in the area to safety.

“Gay people have been detained and rounded up and we are working to evacuate people from the camps and some have now left the region,” Svetlana Zakharova, from the Russian LGBT Network told Waheed.

“Those who have escaped said they are detained in the same room and people are kept altogether, around 30 or 40. They are tortured with electric currents and heavily beaten, sometimes to death.”

A protest will take place outside the Russian embassy in London this evening at 5:30pm to urge international authorities to help bring an end to this brutal form of LGBT+ oppression in Chechnya.



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