[TRIGGER WARNING: EXTREME HOMOPHOBIC VIOLENCE]
This is not an exaggeration. This is an emergency.
Reports are coming in from Chechnya about gay and bisexual men being abducted, taking to "unofficial prisons," tortured for information, and murdered. This is not a drill. These are death camps.
According to sources on the ground, over 100 people have been arbitrarily detained in unofficial prisons, where victims are being tortured and forced to disclose personal contacts of other gay or bi men in Chechnya.
The Russian LGBT Network can confirm at least three murders so far – out of a reported 20 murders.
This is a grave situation, and we join other LGBT and human rights organisations in calling for:
- an immediate halt to the violence against the LGBTI community and the release of those detained
- a proper investigation of the arbitrary detention, torture and extra judicial killing of (perceived) gay and bi men in Chechnya
We’ve contacted the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ask them to make representations to Russian authorities to end the reported human rights abuses immediately.
We will continue to stay in touch with contacts on the ground in Russia, colleagues in the international LGBT movement (including ILGA-Europe) and other human rights organisations to monitor the situation, and offer any support we can.
This is from Stonewall.org.uk, an official LGBTQ+ rights organization in Europe. It's very likely that in addition to gay and bi men, everyone who isn't straight and cis in the area is at risk. You can also find a report on the situation from Amnesty International here.
If you're like me and you're horrified beyond belief and feel absolutely helpless, the Russian LGBT Network has published a statement on how people can help and a VERY IMPORTANT mention of things NOT to do. LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya are in extreme danger right now, particularly men and people who may be read as men. Doing anything that might out them should be avoided at all costs. Even if you know people in the area who are at risk, don't even message them asking if they're okay. Email and social media, even phone lines may be monitored.
Words cannot express how awful this is, how scared I feel for the people of Chechnya, and how sick I feel over the hatred in the world.