Colega publicly denounces the systematic persecution of the gay collective in Chechnya

Colega publicly denounces the systematic persecution of the gay collective in Chechnya

Reports show the existence of concentration camps in Russia

Colega, the LGBT collective of Madrid, together with madrileños who wanted to respond to our call, protested today in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, denouncing the Chechnian authorities’ systematic persecution of the LGBT collective in that region.

On April 1st, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta denounced the kidnapping of hundreds of men, orchestrated by the authorities of the Russian republic of Chechnya, for being gay. Following the information from this source, the authorities tortured and maltreated the victims in order to force them to reveal other members of the LGBT community. Furthermore, Novaya Gazeta also affirmed that at least three people have been assassinated for the same reason.

Several days after publishing this report, the newspaper also denounced the existence of at least one concentration camp, close to Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. Apparently, the purpose of this camp is to secretly confine and torture the kidnapped citizens. Furthermore, Novaya Gazeta suggests that this concentration camp may not be the only one available to the Chechnian police.

Various international organizations, such as ILGA-Europa—la Oficina Europea de la Asociación Internacional de Lesbianas, Gays, Transexuales y Bisexuales—and Amnesty International have already denounced and condemned this act. Furthermore, Russian organizations that defend the rights of LGBT folks are working to protect the LGBT community; they have even offered to help LGBT folks escape from Chechnya to guarantee their safety.

Chechnya and the Russian Federation share the same LGBTphobic attitude

To speak of Chechnya is to speak of Russia. This Russian republic has been ground zero for constant instability, especially in the 1990s. The Russian government succeeded in suppressing the separatist movement there and put Razman Kadyrov in charge, a man known for his crusade to maintain public order and “tradition.”

In Moscow, the Government of the Federation has been incrementally increasing the repression and persecution of LGBT folks for years by passing various draconian laws that persecute any positive promotion of homosexuality, thereby impeding free expression and the fight for LGBT rights (which are, without a doubt, human rights).

At Colega, we believe that the fight for human rights is a universal aspiration that doesn’t allow for pauses or partial recognitions. It’s true that the laws of a country are always fair, but in the Russian case anti-homosexual rhetoric is stuffed with nonsense, lies, and misrepresentations. The malicious confusion of pedophilia and homosexuality is already well known and is often accompanied by the famous excuse that, by persecuting homosexuals, the community is “protecting the children.”

putin lgbt rusia concentración madrid

Another show of disrespect by the Russian authorities against our collective

For Samir Bargachi, president of Colega Madrid, this is “another step in the general and organized deterioration against Russian LGBT folks and their defenders. The published information is proof that the Chechnian and Russian authorities have committed all sorts of crimes that they are trying to hide in their fight against our collective,” continues Bargachi, “which also contributes to the violence and harassment that LGBT folks face, as well as all sorts of derogatory, insulting and homophobic comments.”

Russia is a member of the Council of Europe and has signed various international treaties that protect human rights. “This persecution is another dangerous message of hate that Rusia is transmitting to the world concerning the respect of human rights,” declares the president of Colega, “and the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations should react to this flagrant violation of what they claim to defend.

At Colega Madrid we demand that the Chechnian authorities and the Russian government cease their organized persecution of our community. Their backwards attitudes condemn a collective that is more visible every day to ostracism and invisibility in a country that considers itself Western. We cannot tolerate the existence of barriers that prevent us from enjoying our rights and liberties. But we have to protest even harder when we face coercion, institutional violence and the murder of human beings, as in this case, because these crimes prevent us from living in freedom.