Renewed Call for Action to Protect Gay Men Following Announcement of Russian Investigation in Chechnya
Washington, D.C.—Following reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to speak to law enforcement officials about the continued abuse and detention of over one hundred gay men in Chechnya, Human Rights First today renewed calls for the immediate release of remaining victims and accountability for perpetrators. Putin’s announcement was reported by The Associated Press.
“The United States needs to urge President Putin to take this investigation seriously. Putin’s track record concerning the LGBT community, and human rights more broadly, doesn’t inspire confidence that his words will be matched with action,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “President Trump needs to make crystal clear that the international community demands an end to this crisis, which includes bringing culpable Chechen officials to justice.”
Moskalkova, a former major general in Russia’s Interior Ministry, previously expressed disbelief at the allegations.
In March, independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported on the mass detention of over one hundred men “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such.” During the crackdown, at least three men have been killed. Journalists reporting on the situation have been threatened by Chechen government officials and clerics. In addition to the deaths, survivors report beatings and torture, as well as being forced to disclose the names of other gay men in the region. As the crisis continues, LGBT organizations on the ground are evacuating victims from the country.
Human Rights First recently urged the State Department to provide protection and assistance to gay men fleeing the violence, and called on President Trump to demand an end to the brutal persecution. United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and State Department officials have spoken out against the violence, calling for an investigation.