Scottish MSP lodges motion backed by Amnesty in support of LGBTI community under attack in Chechen Republic
HOLYROOD and charities such as Amnesty International Scotland have condemned the “abhorrent” actions of the Chechen Republic where systematic torture and the murder of LGBTI persons have taken place.
Reported by the Russian independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, hundreds of gay men are being murdered and tortured by the authorities in the southern Russian region.
The move comes after news that approximately 100 men have been seized and rounded up by government forces loyal to the militia leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Authorities have indicated that they will release a select number of men with the expectation that their families will perform ‘honour killings’ on them.
Christina McKelvie, Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse MSP and supported by Amnesty Scotland has launched a Scottish Parliamentary motion condemning the actions of the Chechen authorities.
She said: “This is an abhorrent and specifically targeted humanitarian crime against members of the LGBTI community in Chechnya.
“For the Chechen authorities to not only deny these attacks, but also incredulously claim that no gay people exist within their province is at best extraordinary and at worst deceitful. I fully endorse Amnesty International’s call to action to protect those at risk within the region.
“The Scottish Parliament motion I launched calls for a concerted, collaborative effort from the international community to ensure the Russian authorities are held accountable for upholding their human rights obligations, and that those committing these crimes in Chechnya are swiftly brought to justice.”
The LGBT Network in Russia confirmed to Amnesty International that the detention centre is at an unofficial detention centre for torture, near the town of Argun.
Amnesty International have launched a global call to action through an online petition, compelling Aleksandr Ivanovich Bastrykin, chairman of the investigation committee in Russia, to carry out an immediate and clean investigation into the reports of detainment and torture.
“The Russian and Chechen authorities should condemn these attacks in the strongest terms and carry out a prompt and effective investigation to stop the cycle of horrific homophobic violence.” Naomi McAuliffe
Critics within Russia are sceptical since Kadyrov is a firm ally of Russian president Vladamir Putin who made him Chechen president in 2007. Since then his presidency has featured an uncompromising and authoritarian brand of Islam which has controlled liberal voices in the mainly Muslim republic.
Kadyrov at the time was already leader of the much-feared private militia called the “Kadyrovtsy” which had a long history of torture, kidnappings and assassinations in Chechnya.
Amnesty International’s Scotland programme director, Naomi McAuliffe, said: “Homophobia and intolerance prevail in Chechnya, fostered by the Chechen authorities.So-called ‘honour killings’ are still practised: Men considered to have tarnished the family ‘honour’ by being gay face the very real risk of being killed by members of their own families.
“The Russian and Chechen authorities should condemn these attacks in the strongest terms and carry out a prompt and effective investigation to stop the cycle of horrific homophobic violence.”
“We are horrified and the LGBT community, along with many others, across the world will not rest until our leaders do something.” Rosa Zambonini
The Equality Network, a campaigning group on LGBTI issues, called on residents of Glasgow, Perth and Coatbridge to use the ‘twinning arrangements’ in place between the Scottish towns and cities and Russian counterparts as a means of highlighting the situation in Chechnya. “Glasgow is twinned with the city of Rostov-on-Don, Perth with Pskov and Coatbridge with Gatchina, all towns and cities in Russia,” the group explained.
“Through twinning partnerships towns and cities can share knowledge and participate in cultural changes. With the current ongoing situation in Chechnya these links could prove a way to influence the government in Russia to halt the state-sponsored homophobia in Chechnya.”
North Lanarkshire councillor Rosa Zambonini wrote a solidarity letter to mothers in Chechnya: “We mothers in Scotland and all over the world are supporting you. We are reading every day that your sons are being abducted and that there is maybe even concentration camps being set up. We are horrified and the LGBT community, along with many others, across the world will not rest until our leaders do something.”
Picture courtesy of Boxden
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