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UN urges Russia to protect LGBTI in Chechnya from ‘cruel and violent’ abuse

UN urges Russia to protect LGBTI in Chechnya from ‘cruel and violent’ abuse

United Nations (UN) experts on Wednesday (13 February) said they were ‘alarmed’ by a new wave of persecution of LGBTI people in Chechnya.

They urged Russia to protect the rights of people suspected of being LGBTI and investigate allegations of significant human rights abuses.

More than 40 people have been arrested and detained on suspicion of being LGBTI since December 2018, the UN said. Two people have reportedly died from torture.

News broke of Chechen authorities detaining gay and bisexual men in concentration camps in April 2017. Russia has so far avoided accountability.

‘Abuse inflicted on victims has allegedly become more cruel and violent compared with reports from 2017’ a statement released Wednesday said.

What’s more, according to the UN, Chechnya is now targeting women as well as men.

Worryingly, Chechen authorities are also preventing victims from fleeing the region or filing complaints.

Authorities are confiscating or destroying documents, threatening criminal proceedings, and forcing people to sign blank documents.

Seven UN experts, SOGI expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz, signed Wednesday’s statement.

What is happening in Chechnya?

A 2018 report confirmed systematic mass detentions, secret prisons, and torture of LGBTI citizens in the Muslim-majority region of Russia.

One gay man reported authorities torturing him in a homemade electric chair. He then had to give up names of other LGBTI people he knew.

Chechnya president Ramzan Kadyrov vowed to kill all gay men. He also said parents of LGBTI children should kill them to remove the shame from their family.

The arrest of group moderator on Russian social network VKontakte (VK) may have sparked this latest purge. Gay and bisexual men in the area use VK to contact one another.

The Russian LGBT Network has been scrambling to evacuate people from Chechnya.

Activists have so far evacuated about 150 people from Chechnya. But, there are 130 more evacuated Chechens in Russia who need assistance in leaving the region altogether.

The Network has asked for people in Chechnya needing assistance to email: [email protected] or call 8 (800) 555-73-74.

Helping Chechnya

Gay Star News is partnering with the Russian LGBT Network to help raise critical funds to help gay people escape Chechnya. The funds will go towards organizing passports, airfares and accommodation in safe houses for the hundreds of persecuted Chechens.

The fundraiser will launch in the next few days. Please subscribe to the mailing list to be kept updated of the fundraiser’s launch.