Protests, pressure seek to end abuses in Chechnya

Pressure has increased to put an end to a campaign of anti-gay repression, so far with no signs of progress.

From ILGA’s LGBulleTIn recap of the world’s LGBTI news:

Monday, May 1

Russia: LGBTI human rights defenders detained on May Day march

Almost 20 LGBTI human rights defenders have been detained in the center of St. Petersburg as they were taking part in the May Day march, Fontanka reported.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov (Photo courtesy of ABC News)
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov denies the mass arrests of gay citizens, saying that “such people do not exist.” (Photo courtesy of ABC News)

One of the detained activists explained to Reuters that the group had taken to the streets to protest against human rights violations perpetrated against gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.  “I was waving a rainbow flag and shouting ‘Kadyrov should go to the Hague,’  Russian LGBT Network‘s Igor Kochetkov was quoted as telling the news agency whilst in detention.

As ILGA-Europe points out, a brutal campaign against gay and bisexual men has been sweeping through Chechnya in the past weeks. Law enforcement and officials have illegally arrested at least 100 men on the grounds of their suspected sexual orientation. Detained in two known illegal prisons, they have been tortured, humiliated and beaten. At least three men are confirmed to have been killed.

In her first official visit to Russia since 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin “to use his influence to guarantee the rights of minorities,” directly raising awareness of what is going on in Chechnya. Merkel joined a broad scale of institutions, governments and other organisations who have called on an end to human rights violations in the region.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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