LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Update from Strasbourg: European Parliament’s resolution on Chechnya

ILGA-Europe welcome the European Parliament’s resolution on the implementation of the Council’s LGBTI Guidelines, particularly in relation to the persecution of (perceived) gay men in Chechnya, Russia, adopted today. 

The resolution condemns the widespread human rights violations in the region and the relevant climate of impunity which allows for these acts to take place (para 5). It calls for an immediate release of those detained, and an effective investigation to be conducted (para 1).

The text notes that Russian authorities have initiated an investigation and calls on the European Commission, the Member States and on the Council of Europe to offer material and advisory support to the Russian authorities for this investigation (para 3), to monitor its progress as well as to engage with victims, LGBTI people, journalists and human rights defenders currently in danger (para 6).

Crucially, the resolution recognises that the loss of anonymity compromises the safety of victims to the point that emigration abroad is the only safe option for them. As such, it: “calls on the European Commission to engage with international human rights organisations and Russian civil society, to assist those who have fled Chechnya and to bring this campaign of abuse into the open; furthermore, calls on member states to facilitate asylum request procedures for such victims, journalists and human rights defenders in accordance with European and National law” (para 7). 

ILGA-Europe shares the concerns expressed by the European Parliament and welcomes its call for increased engagement from EU delegations, National Embassies, the European Commission and Council of Europe. 

To date, despite a strong response from the international community, at least 100 men remain in detention and a growing number of survivors are making use of the hotline set up by the Russian LGBT Network seeking practical help in escaping the region. 

As such, further international pressure is needed to ensure the situation is halted, those detained are released, and a proper investigation, including effective remedy for the victims, conducted. 

ILGA-Europe also call on third countries diplomatically represented in the Russian Federation to provide protection to people at risk of persecution related to these developments, by granting visas that would subsequently allow them to seek shelter abroad.

Secondly, ILGA-Europe call on third countries diplomatically represented in the Russian Federation to use their influence, if any, on the Russian Federation to stop these human rights violations committed by the local authorities in Chechnya, and to provide assistance and advice to Russian authorities to ensure en effective conclusion to the investigation launched by Russian authorities.