United Nations human rights experts have called on Russia to end the abuse and murder of gay men in Chechnya.
Horrifying accounts of brutality and killings have been emerging from the Russia republic over the last two weeks, after Russian opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta reported that over 100 gay and bisexual men aged 16-50 had been detained by authorities over the last few months.
At least three men are known to have been killed, though the paper estimates the real figure to be higher, with witnesses and survivors reporting that detainees have been imprisoned together in large groups or ‘camps’, where they have been beaten and tortured – sometimes to death – by officials.
Now, human rights experts at the United Nations have called on Russian authorities to put an end to the violence. “We urge the authorities to put an end to the persecution of people perceived to be gay or bisexual in the Chechen Republic,” the experts said.
They added that LGBT+ Chechnyans “are living in a climate of fear fuelled by homophobic speeches by local authorities.”
“It is crucial that reports of abductions, unlawful detentions, torture, beatings and killings of men perceived to be gay or bisexual are investigated thoroughly,” the experts added.
Wednesday night (April 12) saw a protest at the Russian embassy in London over the situation in Chechnya.
Meanwhile, an Amnesty International petition calling on Russian’s prosecutor general, Aleksandr Ivanovich Bastrykin, to investigate the reports had reached over 95,000 signatures by Thursday morning (April 13).
Public figures like Troye Sivan, Ellen DeGeneres and Billy Eichner have called on the international community to spread the news far and wide to help draw attention to the plight of those on the ground.