British government condemns “utterly barbaric” abuse of gay men in Chechnya

Sir Alan Duncan told the House of Commons that Chechnya’s actions are of the “utmost concern to the UK”.

The politician – who serves as deputy to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson – confirmed that he has spoken to the Russian government and challenged him over Chechnya’s treatment of their LGBT+ citizens.

Respected Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported last month 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.

Rennett Stowe via Flickr

Duncan revealed that British Embassy representatives have also raised concerns with the Russian government.

“The arbitrary detention and ill treatment of over 100 men in Chechnya because of their sexual orientation is of the utmost concern to the UK,” Duncan said.

“Statements by the regional government in Chechnya that appear to condone and incite violence against LGBT people are utterly despicable.

“We condemn any and all persecution and call on the authorities to promptly investigate and ensure that the perpetrators of human rights abuses are brought to justice.

“This would be in accordance with international human rights commitments adopted by the Russian government to respect the human rights of all individuals.”

However, Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, Stephen Doughty, challenged the government, asking why Prime Minister Theresa May still hasn’t publicly condemned Chechnya for their treatment of LGBT+ people.

“I hope this House will be fully united in giving the strongest message to Russia and to Chechnya,” Duncan replied, “in particular that this kind of behaviour is beyond contempt and not acceptable in the world in which we live.”

Two of Chechnya’s victims came forward this week for an interview with CNN, recalling horrific accounts of torture and electrocution of gay men in Chechnya.

Hundreds protested outside the Russian Embassy in London last week to urge the British government to help end oppression against LGBT+ people in Chechnya.

Former US Vice President Joe Biden has also called on current US President Donald Trump to help bring an end anti-LGBT abuse in Chechnya.

Related: Why does mainstream media consider Chechnya’s torturing of gay men ‘not really news’?



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