New detentions of LGBTI people in Chechnya: Russia needs to take action
A new wave of arrests, persecution and torture against (perceived) LGBTI people in Chechnya has started in Chechnya since December 2018. 40 people, both men and women, have been detained – and at least two were killed, according the Russian LGBT Network. However Chechnya authorities continue to deny that “gay people exist” in Chechnya, and Russia remains cautious in its public response to the situation.
“Not only do LGBTI people exist, but they have human rights just like everyone else. We will continue to fight so LGBTI people are safe in Chechnya and everywhere else in the world”, said Terry Reintke, co-chair of the LGBTI Intergroup.
The European Parliament spoke up against the situation since the first arrests in 2017, and repeatedly called on Russia to pursue genuine investigations, with two resolutions in May 2017 and February 2018 and an oral question to the European Commission in October 2018.
Other international institutions, such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and the European Commission HR/VP Federica Mogherini, have denounced these blatant human rights violations. In December 2018, an OSCE report, published after 16 countries triggered the Moscow Mechanism, called on Russia and Chechnya to end impunity for arrests, detention and mistreatment of perceived LGBTI people and take action – including a full investigation into the matter.
“We cannot wait until more people are detained, tortured and killed. It is about time Russia listens to the multiple recommendations and requests from the international community, starts an investigation and puts an end to these human rights violations.” said Sophie in’t Veld, vice-president of the LGBTI Intergroup.
“We also expect the European Commission and the HR/VP to follow-up closely on their commitment to address the situation, in accordance with the LGBTI guidelines”.