Russia silent as Chechnya moves to eliminate its LGTB community

The British Foreign Office has confirmed threats by Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov that he intends to eliminate all gay men in the Russian republic By May 26, the first day of Ramadan.

Kadyrov has continued to deny accounts of any anti-gay campaign, including in a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who unsurprisingly has shown no inclination to address the situation. Kadyrov has previously stated that lgtb people don’t exist in Chechnya, so any reports of abuse against the lgtb community are false. Human rights organizations, however, have documented the disturbing developments on the ground since local newspaper Novaya Gazeta first reported on the situation. Since then, there have been Reports of concentration style camps where gay men are being held and tortured And sometimes murdered.

Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the U.K., told parliament:  “Sources [in local Russian media] have said that he wants the [LGBT] community eliminated by the start of Ramadan.”

Chechnya is a highly traditional Muslim society, and for many not only is homosexuality unacceptable but having a relative who might be gay represents an unspeakable “stain” on their family’s honor and reputation. During the recent campaign, police have leveraged this social stigma by, in many cases, releasing men suspected to be gay to their families and “outing” them. They encourage families to “restore family honor,” which in Chechen terms usually means through an “honor” killing. At least three men have died since the campaign started at the end of February.

News of the purge has continued to draw concern and criticism abroad, from foreign governments as well as LGBTQ activists, who in Canada have called for emergency visas to be issued, and the urgency of the situation now seems more apparent than ever.

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