We all know by now that gay men and women have been persecuted in Chechnya.
We have known that since December 2017, Chechen authorities have been rounding up people on their actual or perceived sexuality.
LGBTI people have been illegally detained, tortured and executed. Multiple organizations and media outlets have verified the horrors happening in Chechnya, which is in the Northern Caucuses region of Russia.
Things are getting worse in Chechnya
The situation escalated this year with detention of 40 men and women. We know that two people died as a result of torture.
The world’s community has spoken out against these atrocities, but Russia has continued to ignore what’s happening in its own backyard.
The Russian LGBT Network is helping to evacuate people from Chechnya. They are sheltering them in safe houses, providing them food, clothing and psychological support.
But most importantly, they’re trying to get them out of Russia and that’s where we come in.
We can help the persecuted Chechens in some really simple ways.
Here’s how to help:
It costs about €4,000 (US$4,562) per refugee to keep them in safe housing, but to also get them international travel documents to help them flee Russia.
The most urgent need for the Russian LGBT Network is money. Getting them critical funds is a priority of the international community.
If you can’t afford to donate, make sure you share the link around to encourage friends and families to help.
Donate to the Russian LGBT Network here, make sure to select the ‘Chechnya’ option when donating.
- Make your voice heard:
Many of the victims, especially those tortured by authorities, will try to seek sanctuary outside of Russia. So, The Russian LGBT Network is asking people to contact their local politicians and government immigration ministers.
Write to your MPs to get them to help grant persecuted LGBTI Chechens asylum in your home country. By writing to MPs you’re not only raising awareness of the situation, but also letting them know that are lot of people are watching what’s happening. That puts pressure on them to act.
- Rally, sign petitions, raise awareness:
Keep an eye out for any rallies happening in your area, like this one happening in London. Then head down with your friends, to let lawmakers know we won’t stop until the LGBTI persecution does.
There are a number of petitions circulating around to send to lawmakers. This one from AllOut sends a message to the UK delegation going to the World Economic Forum, that it’s their best chance to confront Russia on the atrocities happening in Chechnya.
A petition only takes seconds to fill in, but could have a huge impact and potentially save someone’s life.
Also, share the news about what’s happening in Chechnya on your social media and tell your friends. The more people that know about what’s happening, the more pressure it puts on people in charge to do something.
Other calls and emails you can make:
Get in touch with the border police in your home country. In some urgent cases, Chechen refugees may try to enter the country without a visas. Let the border authorities know these people are running away from persecution and have the grounds to claim asylum.
You can also call the following United Nations bodies to encourage them to to initiate the United Nations Independent Investigation on Russia with a specific mandate on the human rights violations in the Chechen Republic.
If you’re in Europe you could contact the EU Committee for Torture Prevention to release the results of their visit to the Chechen Republic in December 2017. You could let them know that while LGBTI rights violations continue, the Russian authorities remain unresponsive and claim that no cases of human rights abuse are happening there.