At the beginning of April, the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a report in which senior government sources confirmed the mass detention of more than a hundred gay men in Chechnya since February because of their sexual orientation. Human rights organisations and activists have also reported that gay men are being held in “camps” where they are subjected to torture and beatings.
Torture, murder and reprisals
According to the few men who have escaped, some 30 or 40 people are kept in the same room, tortured with electric currents and heavily beaten. Novaya Gazeta says it has hard evidence that at least three of the men detained have been killed. Now, the journalists who broke the story have been forced into hiding after a gathering of 15,000 people in Grozny adopted a resolution promising “retribution” for the article.
Hivos strongly condemns this outrageous witch-hunt orchestrated to round up men suspected of being gay, even as Chechen authorities deny there are any gay people at all in the country. Sadly, this horrendous wave of arrests, beatings and murders fits into a global trend of discrimination, intimidation and abuse of LBGTI people, but is one of the worse cases we have seen. Hivos therefore calls for a prompt, independent and transparent investigation of these cases by the Russian government. The individuals who committed these crimes should be brought to justice, and the support structures behind the crimes should be dismantled.
The Russian and Chechen authorities have the duty to protect (the rights of) all their citizens, which means they must put an end to these ongoing human rights violations and the impunity granted to perpetrators. We call upon the Russian and Chechen governments to ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights law.
Appeal to Dutch government
We fully support the steps taken by the European Union, the Dutch government and human rights experts, but the situation demands immediate action at the highest possible level because nothing thus far has yielded any meaningful responses from the Russian and Chechen authorities. We strongly urge the Dutch government to step up its efforts with Russian counterparts to stop these human rights violations.
Hivos also calls upon the international community to take serious steps to end these brutal attacks and ensure Chechen authorities uphold the rights and protect the lives of all citizens instead of targeting them with this violence.
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