PACE calls on Russia to investigate persecution of LGBT in Chechnya

On June 27, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution, and called on Russia to conduct open and efficient investigation of persecution of LGBT in the Chechen Republic or to allow it to be conducted by an international human rights organization. Also, in this resolution PACE insists that Russia should protect legally and physically victims of persecution, members of their families, witnesses and human rights defenders. Moreover, Russia should guarantee that all the perpetrators should be punished accordingly: the Russian LGBT Network defines what is going on in Chechnya as a crime against humanity.

Starting from the April 1, 2017, the Russian LGBT Network made every effort to urge the Russian authorities to investigate kidnappings, illegal imprisonment, tortures and even killings of LGBT people in Chechnya. The investigation took place and was over few month ago (here one can find out more about the results); its main conclusion was voiced by Alexander Konovalov, the Russian Minister of Justice, in Geneva: “There are no LGBT people in Russia”. Reacting to such statements, some PACE delegates stated that in fact such messages dehumanize a part of the society, which was unacceptable.

As a human rights defender Igor Kochetkov pointed out, the fact of the persecution of LGBT in Chechnya is generally accepted by PACE members. On the opposite, “the negation of the mere existence of LGBT in Chechnya by the Federal and local authorities is seen by the European politicians as a sign of hatred and discrimination (and it is a form of dehumanization), and indirect evidence of the involvement of the authorities”.

Starting from April 1, 2017, the Russian LGBT Network evacuated 123 people who suffered because of this mass campaign from the region. Most of them have already left Russia. The Russian LGBT Network will do everything possible to stop kidnappings, illegal imprisonments, tortures and killings and to make sure that the perpetrators will be punished.