The Russian LGBT Network continues its work to support victims of the mass campaign against LGBT in Chechnya

The Russian LGBT Network continues its work to provide emergency support for people who suffered as a result of mass anti-LGBT campaign organized by the Chechen authorities. Since April 2017, the Network evacuated 130 people from the region (100 men and 30 women), 112 people have already left Russia. Since April 2017, there were seven attempts to kidnap people already evacuated from the region.

In spite of the numerous complaints to the law enforcement agencies, the Russian authorities did not do anything to stop violence. Moreover, they deny even the existence of LGBT people in Chechnya. At the same time, on August 22, the court of Yessentuki found lawful the refusal to initiate criminal proceeding under the complaint submitted by Maxim Lapunov. Maxim Lapunov is still the only person who publicly stated that he was illegally detained, imprisoned and tortured in the Chechen Republic.

On August 31, 15 OSCE countries invoked Vienna Human Dimension Mechanism because of the reports about “alleged worrying actions taken by Chechen authorities against persons based on their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as human right defenders, lawyers, independent media, civil society organizations, and others”. Within this mechanism, Russia was supposed to provide answers to the four asked questions1 but did not do that.

On September 12, the representative of the Russian LGBT Network Igor Kochetkov made a statement at the annual OSCE Conference in Warsaw and called the OSCE member-states to use all the existing mechanisms to protect the victims of the crimes committed on the territory of the Russian Federation and provide these victims with access to justice.

1 Information requested under the Vienna (Human Dimension) Mechanism

  • What steps have been taken by the federal authorities to ensure Chechen officials abide by the Russian Federation’s OSCE commitments?
  • How have Russian federal authorities investigated allegations of violations and abuses reportedly committed against actual or perceived LGBTI persons, and how have they arrived at the conclusion (as repeated by Russian authorities) that no such violations or abuses have occurred and that no LGBTI persons exist in Chechnya?
  • What steps have been taken by the federal authorities to ensure the ability of civil society and media actors to freely document and report, without reprisal, on human rights concerns in Chechnya, in particular the human rights organization, Memorial?
  • How have Russian federal authorities investigated the fate of each of the 27 individuals who were reportedly extrajudicially executed by Chechen authorities in Grozny in January 2017?