Human rights alert in Chechnya

11 April 2017

Arrests and killings are reported, as government denies the very existence of LGBT people in the country.

Shocking news from Chechnya: according to Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and activists, authorities in Chechnya have launched an anti-gay campaign that has led to dozens of arrests. Over a 100 men are believed to have been detained, including three who are believed to have been killed, including widely known personalities from TV and faith groups. The government statements deny the reports, calling it a April fool's joke: “You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic”, said Alvi Karimov, spokesperson for Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov (above).

Apart from the difficulties to get information, the appalling situation is aggravated by the fact that the local public human rights officials are also dismissive, as exemplified by the declaration from a Chechen activist who is on Kadyrov’s human rights council: “I haven’t had a single request on this issue, but if I did, I wouldn’t even consider it,” said Kheda Saratova. “In our Chechen society, any person who respects our traditions and culture will hunt down this kind of person without any help from authorities, and do everything to make sure that this kind of person does not exist in our society.”