Sixteen countries have banded together to question Russia on what it’s doing to stop extreme persecution of gay men in Chechnya. Russia has 10 days to respond.
Chechnya’s gay purge began at the end of 2016. News broke that the Russian territory was kidnapping, torturing and executing men based on a belief they were gay.
But now 16 countries of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization – have invoked the Vienna Mechanism.
The Vienna (Human Dimension) Mechanism allows OSCE states to question other OSCE countries about human issues in those countries.
Russia’s response ‘inadequate’
Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada all invoked the Vienna Mechanism.
‘Our countries continue to be deeply concerned about serious human rights violations and abuses in Chechnya,’ a statement to Russia read.
‘The Russian Federation’s apparent unwillingness or inability to address these serious human rights violations has contributed to a climate of impunity for authorities in Chechnya in perpetrating such violations.’
It deemed Russia’s response to past questioning about Chechnya as ‘inadequate’ which forced it to invoke the Vienna Mechanism.
‘Over the past 20 months, the Russian Federation has not provided a substantive response,’ the statement read.
‘The Russian delegation has denied credible reports from international organizations, journalists and civil society, telling concerned delegations at the OSCEs to “get our facts straight” and accusing us of spreading fake news from the Internet.’
As a result the 16 countries want Russia to provide answers to a list of questions within 10 days.
Here’s what the OSCE is asking Russia:
1. What steps have been taken by the federal authorities to ensure Chechen officials abide by the Russian Federation’s OSCE commitments?
2. How have Russian federal authorities investigated allegations of violations and abuses reportedly committed against actual or perceived LGBTI persons, and how have they arrived at the conclusion (as repeated by Russian authorities) that no such violations or abuses have occurred and that no LGBTI persons exist in Chechnya?
3. What steps have been taken by the federal authorities to ensure the ability of civil society and media actors to freely document and report, without reprisal, on human rights concerns in Chechnya, in particular the human rights organization, Memorial?
4. How have Russian federal authorities investigated the fate of each of the 27 individuals who were reportedly extrajudicially executed by Chechen authorities in Grozny in January 2017?