This week, over 100 men in Chechnya – a republic of Russia – have been hunted down and detained in a secret and illegal prison. Many have been tortured and at least three men have been murdered.
Authorities say they want a “complete cleansing” of gay men from Chechnya.
The Russian LGBT Network has launched an emergency program to evacuate LGBT people in Chechnya who are at risk of being captured or have survived arrest and torture. But the crisis has escalated so quickly, they are running out of resources.
As such, the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity is encouraging Canadians to make a tax receiptable donations to help fund LGBT people in need.
Your gift today will pay for travel costs, safe housing, food, and other emergency resources for gay men who need to escape Chechnya immediately.
The Chechen government refuses to acknowledge this calculated attack is even happening, saying “you can’t detain and harass someone who doesn’t exist in the republic.”
But our international partners, as well as the Russian LGBT Network have personally heard terrifying and tragic accounts from men who managed to escape. They recounted being beaten and given electric shocks, pushed to the brink of death until they gave the names of other gay men.
The risks can follow these people back home, where some families feel pressure from their deeply homophobic communities to kill their gay family members, in the name of “family honour.”
Because of this, LGBT people in Chechnya live extremely isolated lives. That’s why the Russian LGBT Network has set up a helpline to organize an evacuation.
Update: As of May 8, 2017 we have raised $1035 for the campaign.
The Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity also encourages you to send an email to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Chrystia.Freeland@parl.gc.ca), the Prime Minister (Justin.Trudeau@parl.gc.ca) & the Russian Ambassador (firstname.lastname@example.org) saying that you:
- Condemn the actions of the authorities in Chechnya
- Urge demand the immediate end of the persecution of LGBT people in Russia
- That you ask the Canadian government speak out against these atrocities
What else can you do?
- Support Russians coming to Canada. While we encourage you to donate to us, to support the work of All Out & Russian LGBT Network, you can also support Rainbow Railroad. Rainbow Railroad is a Canadian-based organization that assists LGBTQI refugees around the world to escape to places of safety, has partnered with the Russian LGBT Network to assist any gay Chechens wishing to leave Russia by providing direct travel assistance to individuals and working with partners on the ground. Donations to Rainbow Railroad that will cover the costs of any gay Chechens to leave Russia can be made at www.rainbowrailroad.ca/donate. You can also request to designate funds to directly support the Russian LGBT Network through Rainbow Railroad.
- Human Rights Watch. One of the most respected global human rights organizations, Human Rights Watch, is calling on governments to do whatever they can to assist people at imminent risk to leave Chechnya and find safety outside of Russia. HRW’s Russia Program Director has provided a brief summary on the situation, and HRW has launched an online awareness and petition campaign.
- E-Action. Amnesty International Canada has launched an e-action calling on authorities in Russia and Chechnya to launch an investigation into the allegations of human rights abuses against gay men. The organization has asked me to share it with you. Please consider signing the letter and encouraging your networks to do so as well.
- Learn more. Human Rights First, an American-based NGO, has launched an online #eyesonchechnya awareness campaign and created a video of actual testimonies from gay Chechens read by Russian asylum seekers in the US. Please feel free to share this.
- Canada’s position. The Government of Canada has released a statement on the situation and called on the Russian government to investigate. Canada has also signed on to a statement from the global Equal Rights Coalition calling on Russia to investigate.
Learn more here: