New information – the situation in Chechnya as it stands
The violence directed at (perceived) gay and bisexual men was carried out with the direct involvement of local authorities, this pressure extended outside the borders of the Chechen Republic, and it led over 100 people to seek assistance from LGBTI organisations.
These are just some of the latest observations from the Russian LGBT Network. In their latest communication today, the Network confirmed that over 100 individuals have contacted them for assistance. They have also secured resettlement solutions for several survivors, details of which cannot be shared for security reasons.
Victims have testified that the Chechen authorities have been directly involved in the persecution, unlawful detention, torture and extra-judicial killings in Chechnya.
Most detainees have been released, according to the Russian LGBT Network. However, state officials were said to have pressured victims to keep silent, sometimes forcing the victims’ family members to sign statements claiming they are happy with the work of law enforcement officers.
In at least two cases that the Russian LGBT Network are aware of, Chechen authorities exerted pressure on victims who were not even based in Chechnya, intimidating people in other Russian regions.
Men perceived to be gay or bisexual in Chechnya are being targeted in three distinct ways:
- A campaign orchestrated by the Chechen authorities
- On-the-spot persecution by police officers, resulting in blackmail
- So-called ‘honour killings’ by relatives
ILGA-Europe is working closely with LGBTI activists across Europe, including the Russian LGBT Network, to ensure that victims (and their family members who might also be in danger) can escape, are granted visas by European governments, and can be supported on arrival by local LGBTI groups.
The overall number of people still detained in Chechnya is unknown. ILGA-Europe, along with other civil society organisations, will continue to monitor the situation, calling for an and effective remedy for the victims and a thorough investigation (as promised by the Russian authorities) into these atrocities.