Germany welcomes gay man who fled Chechnya’s homophobic purge
Germany has welcomed a gay man who fled the purge of LGBT people in Chechnya.
In April, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported on the campaign of homophobic persecution that had been launched in the region, which has autonomy from Russia.
The journalists who uncovered the story had been forced into hiding after ‘Jihad’ was declared against them, while LGBT groups have sprung into action to help LGBT people escape from the Russian region.
Russia has been repeatedly challenged on the international stage to address the issue, but so far its response has been pretty chilling.
This week, Germany took action to accept a refugee from the region.
According to The Local, a Foreign Ministry official confirmed that in the case “a visa was issued and the person was able to come to Germany on June 6”.
The Foreign Ministry told the online German newspaper Tagesspiegel: “We are happy to be able to help in especially difficult cases.
“In every case, the German government checks which meaningful protection can be granted in the interest of the affected person.”
The country provides visas on “urgent humanitarian grounds” for people who are at risk.
It comes after Angela Merkel raised the issue of Chechnya in a joint press conference with Vladimir Putin.
She said: “We believe in an exchange even if there are differences of opinion. We spoke about the rights and opinions of civil society here in Russia.
“The right to demonstrate is important in a civil society, and I also highlighted the roles of NGOs.
“We have received negative reports on the way that homosexuals are dealt with in Chechnya particularly, and I asked President Putin to use his influence to [help] gay people in the region.”
Putin did not respond to her comments.
France has also reportedly accepted a refugee from the region.
New French President Emmanuel Macron recently raised LGBT rights and Chechnya in his tense first meeting with Vladimir Putin.
Macron, a supporter of LGBT equality, vowed in a joint press conference with Putin to be “constantly vigilant on these issues.”
He told the press: “I reminded President Putin of the importance for France of respect for all peoples, all minorities, and all opinions in civil society.
“We have raised the case of LGBT people in Chechnya but equally the case of NGOs across Russia.
“On these subjects, I have thus very precisely indicated to President Putin the expectations of France, and we have agreed to have an extremely regular follow-up together.”
He added: “President Putin has also indicated to me that he has taken several initiatives on the subject of LGBT people in Chechnya, with measures aiming to bring out the whole truth on the actions of the local authorities and to fix the most sensitive issues.
“Regardless, I will, for my part, be constantly vigilant on these issues, which correspond to our values.”