Earlier this month, it was claimed by a respected Russian newspaper that around 100 gay men had been rounded up by police and detained in what is widely being referred to as a modern-day ‘concentration camp’. The men were held “in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such”, and at least three people are feared dead after the violent raids.
Human Rights Watch later confirmed the horrific news, explaining that the information was “consistent” with reports they’d received from “numerous trusted sources” on the ground in Russia.
Detainees who were either released or managed to escape have since told Novaya Gazeta of the trauma they faced while imprisoned. Some say they were tortured, while others say they saw prisoners beaten to death. One victim said: “Several times a day we were taken out and beaten. Their aim was to find out your circle of contacts – in their minds if you are a suspect then your circle of contacts are all gay. They kept our phones switched on. Any man who calls or texts is a new target.”
Statement of the Russian LGBT Network’s Board regarding the information on the kidnappings and murders of LGBT people in the North Caucasus
The Russian LGBT Networks is highly disturbed and concerned about the information on the kidnapping and killing of people in Chechnya because of their sexual orientation. We are also outraged by the reaction of the officials of the Chechen Republic, who in fact justify the killings. No national and/or religious traditions and norms can justify kidnapping or killing of a human being. Any references to “traditions” to justify kidnappings and killings are amoral and criminal.
The Russian LGBT Network makes every effort to contact the victims and to provide the emergency support. Taking into account the recent statements of the Chechnya officials, we believe that the only thing that can work out is the evacuation. We cooperate closely we the human rights defenders both in Russia and abroad, and ready to evacuate.
On Monday, the Russian LGBT Network will appeal to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation with two claims. The one is the demand to investigate the information on the crimes, published in “Novaya Gazeta”. Another one is the claim to check whether the public statements of the Chechen officials made on April 1 and justifying the killings, contain the elements of the offence.
We are grateful to everyone who contacted us and asked how they can help. What do we need now?
- Help us to spread the information about the fact that the Russian LGBT Network is ready to evacuate people. Please think for whom this information can be useful. You can spread the information publicly or personally. Everyone who needs help can contact us by email or call the Hotline (8 800 555 73 74). The call is free all over Russia.
- In accordance with the Russian legislation, every citizen can apply to the Investigative Committee with the demand to investigate the information about the crime published in mass media. We encourage everyone to apply (the template of the claim will be published tomorrow).
We understand that many people want to help those in need. But please remember that any uncoordinated actions can put in additional danger people in need and those who are ready to help. Therefore, we do not recommend to collect the addresses of people who are ready to provide temporarily shelter.
Be aware, that the situation with the human rights in the North Caucasus is truly difficult. Now people’s lives are endangered and the only way to help is the evacuation. The Russian LGBT Network has the necessary resources to evacuate people, there is a team that already makes every effort to safe lives. That is why we ask everyone to share with us the information about people in need and any offers of assistance.
via: https://lgbtnet.org/en, http://www.gaytimes.co.uk/, https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/