It should also make all of us as politicians aware of the challenges which LGBTI people still have to face in Europe in the 21st century. In preparing the report, I relied on secondary sources, such as media and reports of non-governmental organisations NGOs , as well as on the information I obtained through various meetings with people who have been directly involved or affected.
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These meetings were held in several Council of Europe member States. I also had the opportunity to meet Mr Maxim Lapunov, the only victim who has so far formally lodged a complaint. I would also like to point out that Ms Tatyana Moskalkova, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation, was invited to participate in a hearing of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination to contribute to this report.
I regret that the invitation was turned down and that she did not provide any written information. I would like to thank them for their participation and commend their courage for the actions taken to support victims of the anti-LGBTI campaign, and in general for their outstanding support to victims of discrimination and violence on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in a challenging context. In the past few years, along with the insistence in public discourse on traditional gender roles and family values, a climate of rising homophobia has been perceptible throughout the Russian Federation.
This climate was epitomised by the adoption of the law prohibiting the so-called propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors in , in spite of international criticism. This law has inspired similar initiatives in other countries.
International reactions denouncing the risks presented by the adoption of this kind of legislation have not triggered change and it appears that this legislation is still rather popular today. In , in its judgment in the case of Bayev and Others v. Videos presenting LGBTI people as Western agents, dangerous persons, threats to political stability and to traditional values circulate on social media and contribute to this homophobic climate. Homophobic videos were available on internet during the last presidential campaign in , calling on people to vote so as to avoid chaos.
Legislation, media reports and political statements contribute to creating a climate encouraging homophobic attitudes. Rising homophobia and support for anti-propaganda legislation are signs of an overall context which can lead to the acceptance or toleration of discrimination and violence against LGBTI people. This kind of statement by high-ranking Russian officials defies common sense and is deeply disturbing. One also needs to look into the overall context in the Chechen Republic in order to understand the situation.
While this report addresses discrimination and extreme violence against a specific group, there is an overall climate of impunity and absence of rule of law in the Republic. Human rights defenders have been and continue to be threatened. Ms Elena Milashina, journalist at Novaya Gazeta who investigated the purge, has received death threats in connection with her work in the Chechen Republic.
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Since he consolidated his power in the Chechen Republic in , Ramzan Kadyrov has had a free hand to promote his vision of a traditional society. He has presented himself as the guardian of tradition, religion and authority. He has stated that his mission is to cleanse the nation of all deviations, including alcohol and drugs. He has also made reference to the need to cleanse the blood of the nation, using repressive tools.
The use of aggressive and barbaric language contributes to creating a climate of fear. He stated that a man had to be a man and a woman should stay a woman, promoting a traditional definition of gender roles in society. In addition to these general statements, President Kadyrov urged women to adopt righteous behaviour and launched campaigns to impose a certain dress code. Families are called on to assume their responsibility to protect and preserve their honour. The Committee is concerned that such harmful practices appear to be socially legitimized and surrounded by a culture of silence and impunity.
Being LGBTI means contravening the so-called traditional society where a couple is composed of a woman and a man. In the Chechen Republic, coming out often means being shunned by the family. Homosexuality is considered a disease and a provocation. LGBTI people are forced to hide their sexual orientation and are obliged to live a secret life. They fear being rejected, beaten up, tortured, abducted or even killed if they come out. When the police or security forces discover that a person is LGBTI, they threaten systematically to tell the family if the person does not give them a certain sum of money.
During the bilateral meetings I have held with victims and witnesses of this targeted persecution, I have received first-hand information about the use of torture, mistreatment and arbitrary detention against LGBTI people in the Chechen Republic. Several persons are still missing, including the pop singer Zelim Bakayev, who is now believed to have died following his abduction. Novaya Gazeta reported at least three deaths during the actual purge, but more are feared since several disappearances have been reported. I met several times with Elena Milashina, journalist at Novaya Gazeta , who investigated this targeted persecution.
This Network helps those fearing torture and victims of degrading treatment and torture leave the Chechen Republic. To date, the Russian LGBT Network has helped persons leave the Chechen Republic, including 41 persons who say they that they had been detained and tortured and 30 family members who feared for their safety.
They contacted the Network via a hotline and received shelter in hidden safe houses.
Some stayed in the Russian Federation and others 92 left to go abroad. Victims are often afraid of seeking justice and fear retaliation, which may explain why few have officially filed complaints to date. Evidence has been collected by human rights organisations in order to bring those responsible to justice. Human Rights Watch documented meticulously the purge through interviewing victims and witnesses.
Most detainees were outed to their families.
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According to Tanya Lokshina, the anti-gay purge was unique in its magnitude and its horror. Human Rights Watch reported that he watched some of the victims being tortured. High-level Russian officials called for an investigation and regretted that victims would not file complaints. In September , Maxim Lapunov, despite security risks, filed an official complaint.
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The allegations of persecution could no longer be considered as rumours. Maxim Lapunov is the first and only victim to officially file a complaint and to speak out publicly about the anti-LGBTI campaign. He shared with me his story in person. He is not Chechen but lived and worked as an events organiser in the Chechen Republic for two years. He told me he was abducted and held in captivity from 16 to 28 March in a basement, where he was regularly beaten up by Chechen security forces.
His captors wanted information about all the gay persons he knew. They read all the messages he had on his phone. Several men, speaking Chechen, entered one after the other the room where he was being detained. Each of them beat him up, with their hands or with plastic tubes. They would let him fall and catch his breath and then recommence the beating. After some time, he was brought to another room, where he was forced to fight with a Chechen man.
He was asked to perform sexual favours on this man, which he refused, and was again severely beaten. He lost the sense of time. He told me he did not expect to survive.
4840.ru/components/whatsapp-hacken/ceve-iphone-6s.php He was forced to record a testimony acknowledging he was gay, had to give names and addresses of family members and his fingerprints were taken. Intimidations continued after his release. He was warned not to tell anyone what had happened and that the Chechen diaspora would find him if he did. He fled the Chechen Republic and joined his family in the Ural region, but he and his family members received threats from Chechnya.
He was provided with medical support, food, housing, psychological help and, in the end, assistance to leave the country. She took his statement and sent it to the federal investigative authorities. He met several times with investigators, in the presence of his lawyers. He asked the Russian authorities for State protection but did not receive a reply.
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He has now left the Russian Federation since he feared for his safety. I also tried to collect information about the situation of LBT women. At least 12 women, two of them transwomen, were also detained by Chechen authorities last year. LBT women face difficulties in a Chechen society which promotes traditional gender roles.
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They are often victims of violence within their families.