An LGBT+ advocacy organisation is demanding a formal investigation into the reported abuses that have occurred in Chechnya following the publication of a new document. In one year, there have been three reported killings and at least 114 LGBT+ people and their families who have fled the region.
ILGA, The International Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, produced the document in early June investigating the detainment and torture of gay men in the Russian Republic.
The report found that 12 women, two of whom were transgender, were also detained by Chechen authorities. The document also called for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to conduct an effective and impartial investigation.
Chechen society promotes traditional gender roles and LGBT+ networks in the region report that many LGBT choose to stay invisible in an effort to stay safe. The report stated that a Russian polling centre found that 83% of Russians thought gay sex was “always reprehensible” or “almost always reprehensible”.
“They are often victims of violence within their families. Several of them told the Russian LGBT Network that they had
been taken to psychiatric clinics to cure their homosexuality or to mosques for exorcism sessions,” stated the ILGA report. “Corrective rapes and forced marriages are considered as ways of ‘putting them back on the right track’.”
According to the report, Magomed Daudov, Speaker of the Chechen Parliament, oversaw some of the tortures in person.
The ILGA report is the first from an international institution to call for a resolution and investigation into the abuses happening in Chechnya.
“A full independent investigation, carried out without delay – that is what is still urgently needed. And this report is unequivocal: if the Russian authorities do not act, then the international community must conduct such an investigation. We commend Piet de Bruyn on his dedication and for bringing the voices of LGBTI people in Chechnya back into the spotlight,” said Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe Executive Director.
Maxim Lapunov is the only victim to come forward with a formal complain about the abuse and torture he suffered. Lapunov fled Chechnya for Russia but has since relocated due to an increase in hostility towards LGBT+ there. Lapunov spent two weeks locked in a basement where he was beaten, tied up and forced to fight. Authorities went through his phone and demanded he out other gay people he knew.
“He was forced to record a testimony acknowledging he was gay, had to give names and addresses of family members and his fingerprints were taken,” said the report.
The ILGA hopes that the release of this report will encourage others to call for a formal investigation in Chechnya.
On April 4, 2017, the first news reporting the abuses in Chechnya came out. Over one year later, there has been no justice for the victims from authorities or officials. No one has been charged with any crimes.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to what has happened and might still be happening in one of the member States,” said the report. “We cannot accept that people are persecuted for who they are.”
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