Russian Justice Minister: “We were unable to find even members of the LGBT community in Chechnya”

As Interfax reported, on May 14, the Russian Justices Minister commented on the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya organized by local authorities. During his presentation of the Russian official report at the UPR session in Geneva, Alexander Konovalov said that “Conducted checks, including using information provided by media, which had initially sent a signal on such violations, failed to confirm not only the existence of facts of violations of these rights, we were unable to find even members of the LGBT community in Chechnya". "Please help us do that, - find them," he added.

At the press conference that took place in Moscow on April 3, 2018, Novaya Gazeta special correspondent Elena Milashina presented the results of this investigation. The most important thing is the fact that the investigation was conducted by the Chechen law enforcement agencies, the same people the victims of persecutions name as perpetrators. Moreover, as the member of the Russian LGBT Network Igor Kochetkov pointed out, the investigators have never contacted anyone from the Network even though there was public information about hundreds of request for help from people suffered because of this campaign against LGBT in Chechnya.

In April 2018, the Russian LGBT Network also presented its own Report (prepared in cooperation with ADC “Memorial”) at the UPR pre-session. This report was devoted to the discrimination of LGBT in labor, restrictions of LGBT rights to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstrations, and to the hate crimes against LGBT (with the focus on persecution in Chechnya). This pre-session was organized as a preliminary part of the 30th UPR Working Group session that is taking place now in Geneva (until May 18). The statement of the head of the Russian Ministry of Justice was made during his presentation of the official report of the Russian Federation.

Since April 2017, the Russian LGBT Network supports people who suffered because of the mass persecution of LGBT people organized by the local authorities. The Russian LGBT Network evacuated 119 people from the region; most of them have already left Russia. Despite of it, the Russian authorities still denies not only the fact of the committed crimes, but also the mere existence of LGBT people in Chechnya.

The Russian LGBT Network will continue its work to support LGBT people from Chechnya and will make all the efforts for the persecution to stop and the transparent and thorough investigation to be conducted.