Dear Chechnya Government, Stop Torturing Gay and Bisexual Men

Three French civil rights groups have filed an official complaint with the International Criminal Court, calling on the organization to investigate reports of Chechnya’s anti-gay crackdown. This development accompanies emerging allegations that the U.S. may be routinely denying asylum claims by at-risk LGBTs.

So to begin, I will explain this “anti-gay crackdown” happening in Chechnya.

The Chechen Republic, commonly referred to as Chechnya, is a federal subject of Russia. It is located in the North Caucasus, situated in the southernmost part of Eastern Europe, and within 100 kilometers of the Caspian Sea. The head of the Chechen republic is Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader and organizer of torture camps with the desire to exterminate homosexuals.

Novaya Gazeta, an opposition newspaper, first reported the pogrom, saying that at least 100 gay men had been arrested and three killed in the roundup. Human Rights Watch corroborated those findings. The sweep has been widely condemned by Western governments, the United Nations and human rights groups, such as Amnesty International. Activists in Russia have set up an underground network to spirit the victims out of Chechnya and to protect them from potentially violent reprisals from their families and others. The victims use assumed names in their everyday dealings.

The men were held for as little as a day or as long as several weeks, according to Human Rights Watch and to interviews with gay men who later escaped the region. Some “returned to their families barely alive from beatings. Chechen authorities have also reportedly called on parents to denounce any child’s claims of LGBT identity, while some reports allege that parents have been encouraged to take any steps necessary to correct that behavior. A high case to represent these inhuman actions involves a 17-year-old boy who was allegedly thrown to his death from a ninth-floor window. The boy’s uncle believed him to be gay and was keen to ensure that this so-called sin did not tarnish the family’s honor.

Now even though many media outlets are talking about this case, not so many governments are taking responsibility and trying to help the victims of this genocide and to take Chechnya to court for these human rights violations. Russia has insisted that there was no evidence that the Chechen police had arrested, beaten and killed gay men simply because they were gay. The United States of America has turned away every Chechen male that has applied for asylum in wake of this genocide, and Germany has spoken out against these actions and urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to take but is not taking any steps to help the victims and/or prosecute the government of Chencha for carrying out these heinous acts. Lithuania has recently announced that they will be granting anyone asylum who is the victim of these atrocities.

Russia will leave the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague this November, so the civil rights groups who have launched this complaint assert that time is of the essence to secure an impartial investigation. LGBT advocates aim to bring these abuses to light and, crucially, use the full weight of international law to put a stop to them.

But if you are not willing to wait for the court hearings, have no fear, you can help. When the story broke, Alexander Artmyev from Amnesty International told those not in the country can join the charity’s Urgent Action on Chechnya, However, a petition has also been launched by and signed by tens of thousands of people. It demands a full investigation of all the facts and unlawful repression in Chechnya of the LGBT population and calls for punishment for the ‘guilty parties’ and the end to the practice of extrajudicial violence.

You can sign that here.

The world is watching a gay genocide and nobody’s doing anything to help. Please encourage your governments to take action against these atrocities.



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