Council Of Europe Agency Says Putin And Russian Orthodox Church Fuel Homophobia

A recently published report by the ECRI (European Commission against Racism and Intolerance) described the growing intolerance in Russia toward the LGBT+ community.

Vladimir Putin outside a city council building in Russia at night

The Council of Europe body, the ECRI have released a monitoring report on the Russian Federation which includes, amongst other things, their findings on the level of homophobic and transphobic abuse in the country.

The Council report states that in the five years between 2011 to 2016 “the Russian media reported on at least 363 instances of crime against LGBT people, including attacks on gay clubs, domestic violence, extortions and violence during political demonstrations, and robbery.” Actual incidences could be much higher due to people afraid to admit their sexuality or due to fear of contacting the police.

The report also details Russia’s lack of action in responding to detailed and confirmed reports of sexual assault, torture, detention and murder in Chechnya against those perceived to be members of the LGBT+ community.

It goes on to describe that “racist and homo/transphobic hate speech is commonly used by politicians and religious leaders and is widespread in Russian football” and, as there is a lack of anti-discrimination legislation, “Intolerant public discourse remains unchallenged and unpunished”.

In an article by GayIt, the publication described how the ECRI were worried that the actions of those in positions of power influenced anti-LGBT+ sentiment. “It is particularly worrying that the homophobic feeling is actively nurtured by the President and the Russian Orthodox Church and stigmatisation and intolerance towards the LGBT community have inevitably taken root.”

The Council reported the 2013 introduction of the ‘gay propaganda law’, which blocked the promotion of LGBT relationships, had “a chilling effect on groups working for LGBT persons”.

Back in February, representatives from LGBT+ and human rights organisations in Ireland gathered outside the Russian Embassy to protest the horrific abuses perpetrated against the queer community in Chechnya.

They released the following statement:

The Irish LGBT+ community stands in solidarity with our LGBT+ family in Chechnya.

  • We condemn the escalating violence against LGBT+ people and urge An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to publicly condemn the anti-LGBT+ crackdown.
  • The Irish Government must raise this issue at the highest possible level with Russian leaders and call for an immediate end to this harrowing persecution.
  • The Irish government needs to live up to its international protection obligations to recognise and protect Chechen refugees who reach Ireland, as well as using its full consular influence, facilities and resources to support The Russian LGBT+ Network in its vital work in Russia and the region at this time in affording safe options to those at risk.  
  • We call for the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the human rights situation in the Chechen Republic

The Irish LGBT+ community will not let this matter rest or fall out of the news cycle. We will continue to stand with the LGBT+ community in Chechnya and demand that the Russian authorities put an end to the violence and bring those responsible to justice.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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