Russia urged to investigate persecution of LGBTI people in Chechnya

The Russian Federation has been urged to investigate the persecution of LGBTI people in the Chechen Republic, following reports in 2017 of cases of abduction, arbitrary detention and torture of gay men, allegedly “on the orders of top-level Chechen authorities”.

In a draft resolution approved today in Paris, based on a report by Piet De Bruyn (Belgium, NR), PACE’s Equality Committee said that if Russia failed to do so, it should at least allow an “international independent investigation” – and urged the Council of Europe’s ministerial body to consider launching one.

The campaign of persecution “unfolded against the backdrop of serious, systematic and widespread discrimination and harassment against LGBTI people in the Chechen Republic”, the committee said, pointing out that more than 114 LGBTI people and members of their families had fled the Chechen Republic as a result.

“Even if the large-scale campaign of persecution has stopped, its effects continue,” the committee said. “LGBTI people who have stayed in the Chechen Republic remain invisible; they know that reporting ill-treatment to the Chechen authorities would be of no avail; on the contrary, it would risk exposing them and their families to retaliation.”

Other Council of Europe member States were urged to welcome LGBTI victims fleeing persecution in the Chechen Republic, support NGOs and human rights organisations working to protect them, and strongly condemn any violence and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Mr De Bruyn’s report is due to be debated at the Assembly’s forthcoming summer session (25-29 June 2018).