Reports have surfaced that Chechen officials have continued their crackdown on the region’s LGBTQ+ community, according to activist group All Out.
Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta first reported in April that more than 100 gay men had vanished after mass round-ups by local police—with at least three of them killed. Activists noted that the violent kidnappings subsided following international outcry, but sources in Russia have confirmed that authorities are targeting the LGBTQ+ community again.
Enrique Torre Molina from All Out sent an email to supporters this week writing that Chechens have been contacting the Russian LGBT Network hotline with news that authorities have resumed arresting gay men.
“Nearly 100 days ago, news broke of Chechnya’s anti-gay purge,” Molina wrote.
“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.”
Buzzfeed has also reported that the Russian LGBT Network has received "ten calls reporting new detentions since Ramadan ended on June 24".
With the G20 Summit taking place in Hamburg this week, Molina writes that world leaders must pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to conduct a “full, independent and impartial inquiry into the abuses that have already taken place.’
Human Rights Council President Chad Griffin has made a similar request, calling on US President Donald Trump to raise the issue with President Putin during their first meeting tomorrow, saying the situation in Chechnya continues to be “extraordinarily dangerous for LGBTQ+ people”.
“I urge you to stand with the victims by calling on President Putin to take immediate action to bring the violence to an end and the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes to justice,” says Griffin.
He ends the letter by signalling his disappointment that the White House has not yet released a statement to condemn the atrocities.
“The US must not step back from its essential role as a human rights leader and as a champion of the world’s most vulnerable. Failure to speak out against these atrocities signals to dictators and human rights violators that the US will turn a blind eye to their crimes.
“We can, and must, serve as a beacon of hope.”