We use the funds raised to evacuate the people, who are in deadly danger from Chechnya. We offer them safe housing, medical, psychological assistance and the opportunity to leave Russia. We collect evidence and spread honest information about the crisis. We hope that this might force Russian authorities and the international community to take measures to stop the persecution of LGBT people in the North Caucasus and to bring those responsible to justice.
Chechnya is a semi-autonomous region in Russia.
Mainstream news outlets carried the news of the latest crackdown this week. For example, the BBC reported:
Chechnya LGBT: Dozens ‘detained in new gay purge’
Activists in Russia say there has been a new crackdown against LGBT people in Chechnya.
The Russian LGBT Network believes about 40 people have been imprisoned since December – two of whom they say have died under torture.
The group has been monitoring alleged abuses in the mainly Muslim Russian republic since 2017 when dozens of gay people were reportedly detained.
A government spokesman has dismissed their latest report as “complete lies”.
Chechnya, and its authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov, has consistently denied allegations of illegal detentions and human rights abuses.
In an interview with the BBC last year, Mr Kadyrov said the allegations were “an invention by foreign agents” or created by activists looking for money.
Homophobia is widespread in the highly conservative and predominantly Muslim Russian republic.
Mr Kadyrov and other government figures have repeatedly claimed Chechnya has no gay population at all.
Independent report on human rights in Chechnya
The European human rights agency OSCE appointed Wolfgang Benedek, an Austrian professor of international law, as a special rapporteur to look into the reports of the 2017 anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya. He found “clear evidence of successive purges against LGBTI Chechens.”
Last month Benedek issued his report and recommendations, seeking numerous steps by Russian and Chechen authorities to put a halt to the violations. Among other recommendations, he urged Russia to:
Conduct an independent investigation;
Hold any trials for human rights abuses outside Chechnya, and
Repeal the Russian law against “promotion of nontraditional sexual relationships among minors because it has contributed to a climate of discrimination and prejudice against LGBTI persons.”
He urged Chechnya to:
Recognize the existence of people with non-heterosexual orientation in the Chechen Republic, stop any form of harassment and persecution and provide them with adequate protection;
End the climate of impunity by holding to account all perpetrators of human
rights violations, including members of the police and other security forces;
Ensure independence of the judiciary in Chechnya and provide adequate protection to judges, prosecutors and investigators when under threat;
Make sure there is an immediate shut-down of all unofficial detention facilities in Chechnya;
Ensure that perpetrators of abuses and human rights violations are brought to justice and provide transparency regarding investigations and/or prosecutions undertaken, including their outcomes.
State protection should be granted in all cases against governmental officials, like the police and other security forces.