'If One Person Is Being Denied Their Human Rights, All Of Us Are': Irish Activists Protest Chechnya LGBT+ Human Rights Abuses

The LGBT+ community and their allies gathered to protest the 'gay purge' currently taking place in Chechnya.

LGBT community supporting Chechnya hold banners and rainbow flags outside the Russian Embassy

Representatives from LGBT+ and human rights organisations, along with their allies, gathered this evening outside the Russian Embassy to protest the horrific abuses perpetrated against the queer community in Chechnya.

With detailed and confirmed reports of sexual assault, torture, detention and murder against those perceived to be members of the LGBT+ community, the protest was organised to demand that both the Irish and Russian governments intervene.

The group gathered included representatives from GCN, LGBT Ireland, Dublin Pride, USI, TENI, Amnesty International, ACT UP, Queer Diaspora Ireland and Free Legal Advice Centres, Senator Fintan Warfield and concerned members and friends of the LGBT+ community.

They held aloft rainbow flags and posters and banners proclaiming both solidarity with our Chechen friends and anger at the inaction of both the Russian and Irish governments.

Speakers included Lisa Connell from GCN who read aloud a statement signed by Irish LGBT+ organisations from across the country. It read:

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.

Next to speak was Evgeny Shtorn who was forced to flee his home in Saint Petersburg when his safety was threatened for his work with the LGBT+ community. He reminded those gathered “What is happening there is happening to all of us.”

Another of the speakers, Collette O’Regan from LGBT Ireland, later told GCN: “It’s incredibly important that we are outside the Russian Embassy tonight because it sends a message to Russia and to our own government and to the general public that human rights need to be protected everywhere in the world.

“Right now, what’s happening in Chechnya is completely unacceptable and unforgivable. Everyone is terrified and at risk. We have to stand up with them. We have to tell our government that they can’t stay silent and that they have to use all of their influence with Russian business and government officials to defend the human rights of LGBTI people in Chechnya and in Russia.”

Also speaking was Aisling Cusack from USI who reminded those gathered “We are part of a community and that community stretches far further than the seas surrounding this country.”

Senator Fintan Warfield from Sinn Féin told GCN: “Russia must make sure that the persecutions and the human rights abuses in the Chechen Republic are fully investigated and that they are ended immediately and that LGBT people who require assistance are given assistance.

“We are here with the Irish LGBT community outside the Russian Embassy standing up and saying that we will not be silent while our LGBT brothers and sisters are imprisoned, tortured and killed.”

This is just the beginning of the battle to end human rights abuses in Chechnya and the community pledges its continued solidarity to our LGBT+ family around the world.

ACT UP Dublin in solidarity with Chechnya

The statement calling for change was signed by the following:

Amach LGBT Galway
Amnesty Ireland
BeLonG To
Dublin Bears
Dublin Pride
Dundalk Outcomers
Free Legal Advice Centres
Gay Switchboard
International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival
Irish Council For Civil Liberties
LGBT Ireland
NUI Maynooth
Rainbow Project Belfast
Shout Out
Teach Solais LGBT+ Resource Centre
This Is Me

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

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