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ILGALAC (The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Intersexual International Association for Latin America and the Caribbean) condemns the human rights violations committed by the Chechen State and calls upon the international community to take all necessary measures to protect the LGBTI people of Chechnya.

The government of the Chechen Republic has been carrying out an anti-gay purge: massive arrests, forced disappearances, roundups, tortures, and detention centres for gays are some of the atrocities being denounced by journalists and activists since early April. As the Republic of Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation, Russian authorities, and Vladimir Putin in particular, must be made answerable for these crimes by virtue of the international human rights treaties to which the Russia is signatory. Unfortunately, the high-profile tactical alliance between Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov, the notorious Chechen leader, is rendering international pressure ineffective so far.

Chechen society is based on deeply-rooted traditions imposing loyalty to Islam; despite being illegal, honor killing based on sexual orientation is a practice that not only goes unpunished but it is currently encouraged by law-enforcement officers under the command of Kadyrov. After being tortured for several days, the survivors of detention centres are released to their relatives to be murdered on account of their belief that non-traditional sexuality will inevitably bring dishonor upon the family.

Pedro Paradiso Sottile, Executive Director of ILGALAC, has stated: “We condemn the brutal persecution of LGBTI people in Chechnya and the setting up of detention centres where gays (or those perceived to be gay) are sent to be tortured and murdered. ILGALAC has been warning time and again about the political utilization of religious fundamentalism against LGBTI citizenship worldwide; this time the seriousness of the ongoing human rights crisis in Chechnya cannot be overestimated: Kadyrov has vowed to have the gay community eradicated before the start of Ramadan. We thus urge the international community to act immediately against Kadirov’s gay cleansing policy and demand that these harrowing abuses be judged as crimes against humanity”.

In view of the establishment of detention facilities where gay citizens are tortured, we are confronted with crimes against humanity that must be investigated so as to bring the criminals to justice. Meanwhile, we call as a matter of utmost urgency upon international community to redouble their efforts to condemn these human rights violations, step up the pressure on the Russian Federation and protect and aid those persons whose lives are in serious danger by granting humanitarian visas, providing them with political asylum in embassies and consulates, airplane tickets, housing for refugees outside the Russian Federation, work permits, etc., and whatever measure may help them escape from the ongoing political persecution in Chechnya.

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