As reported by Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta in April, the ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya began in February 2017. More than 100 gay men vanished and were reported to be held in concentration camps by local government officials. At least 6 of the men arrested were reported to have been killed. Many of the gay men were returned to their families with obvious signs of torture and abuse. The families of those released were encouraged to carry out honour killings.
Following an international outcry, including a resolution by the United States Congress condemning the actions, the round-ups seem to have subsided. But according to Enrique Torre Molina of All Out, the arrests have once again resumed.
In a press release sent by email to various news organizations, Molina says that activists in Chechnya have contacted the Russian LGBT Network to report a new wave of arrests.
“People from Chechnya contacting the Russian LGBT Network hotline are reporting that arrests of gay men have resumed.
“Nearly 100 days ago, news broke of Chechnya’s anti-gay purge. Over 100 men were hunted down, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured by state authorities, because they were believed to be gay. At least 6 were murdered. Others were returned to their families barely alive, with their captors encouraging relatives to carry out honour killings.
“The Russian LGBT Network and All Out call on G20 leaders to demand that President Putin order a full and immediate end to the arrest of gay men in Chechnya. And that G20 leaders pressure President Putin to conduct a full, independent and impartial inquiry into the abuses that have already taken place.”
The news came during the G20 Summit in Germany this week. Many encouraged President Trump to raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Summit, but so far the Trump administration has remained silent.
Chechnya, which is a republic of the Russian Federation, seems to have drastically expanded on the political and cultural persecution LGBT individuals face in Russia.
State Duma Deputy of Chechnya Magomed Selimkhanov believes that there are no gays in Chechnya. “In Chechnya, there are no gays, so there is no attitude toward them. Personally, I think that they belong two metres under the ground.”
Considering the fact that so many gay men have been detained, tortured and killed in the region shows that the government is not only aware of the LGBT population, but actively seeks to destroy it. It’s clear that many in the local government share Selimkhanov’s opinion that gay men “belong two metres under the ground.”
Groups including Amnesty International and the United Nations Human Rights Council continue to monitor and condemn the violence against gay men in the region.