‘Gay genocide’ in Chechnya must be investigated, plead gay rights groups
Gay rights groups have urged the International Criminal Court to investigate the persecution of gay men in Chechnya, which they call a “gay genocide”.
The three French organisations, Stop Homophobie, Mousse and Comité Idaho France, want to push the ICC into action before it has no hold over Russia.
Russia gave notice of its intention to withdraw from the ICC, which resides in the Hague, last year, and will officially leave its jurisdiction in November.
More than 100 people have been detained, tortured and, in at least three cases, killed during the ongoing purge of gay people in Chechnya.
Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov said he would cooperate with Russian president Vladimir Putin’s investigation into reports of gay men being abducted, tortured and killed in the republic.
Etienne Deshoulières, a lawyer who is representing the three gay rights groups, called Kadyrov “the architect” of a “genocide”.
The Chechen leader was “the organiser of torture camps with the desire to exterminate homosexuals,” he said.
Alexandre Marcel, chairman of Comité Idaho France, said that sending the complaint was “the only way to pursue Nazi behaviour” at an international level.
The groups have blamed Kadyrov for a “wave of persecution,” citing the case of the gay 17-year-old who was pushed to his death from a ninth-floor balcony by his uncle after he was outed to his family.
Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov has told Russian publication Interfax that after conducting an investigation, he had found reports of a gay purge were “baseless and frivolous”.
He called the reports by Novaya Gazeta, whose journalist Elena Milashina was forced into hiding following the exposé, “hype inflated by individual … Chechen people”.
Alkhanov called Milashina’s reporting “provocative and intended to discredit the Chechen Republic in the public eye.”
He also signposted the ministry’s intention to sue Novaya Gazeta for its allegations, which have been verified by multiple human rights organisations.
Alkhanov’s leader, Kadyrov, said earlier this month that there had never been any gay men to persecute in the region, calling them “fake” Chechens
A Russian diplomatic official has previously claimed reports of a gay purge have been used as “a propaganda campaign against Russia around the world”.
Following the initial reports, it was revealed that Chechnya authorities are forcing gay men into concentration camps, sparking an outcry from LGBT and human rights activists across the world.
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A number of heart-breaking stories from the region have been shared, including reports of parents of gay people who were issued a warning to kill their children before police killed them in torture camps.
Tanya Lokshina, from the Human Rights Watch, said that Chechen authorities had been conducting “extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture and cruel and degrading treatment” over the span of the last two decades.
Kadyrov has also pledged to “eliminate” the gay community in Chechnya by the start of Ramadan, according to British Foreign Officials.
Russia enforces a 2014 ‘gay propaganda’ law, which outlaws “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” among minors.
The law also bans people sharing “distorted ideas about the equal social value of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships”.
Authorities across Russia have exploited their powers to censor LGBT content online in the past, as well as in the media.
More: activism, Chechen, Chechnya, concentration camps, Europe, France, France, Gay, gay purge, gay rights groups, genocide, Novaya Gazeta, President Vladimir Putin, Ramzan Kadyrov, Russia, Russia, the hague