This morning, the Russian LGBT Network and a senior journalist from the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta released a report that exposes the scale of the atrocities being committed against LGBT people in the Russian republic of Chechnya.
The report is based on the testimonies of 33 victims and witnesses, and provides horrifying, first-hand accounts of brutal torture and mistreatment suffered by gay and bi men.
Earlier this year the international community was stunned when news broke that gay and bi men were being arrested, detained in unofficial prisons, tortured and in some cases killed at the hands of the Chechen authorities.
It is thought that over 200 men have been targeted in the crackdown since it began. The testimonies reveal how, upon their release, family members have been urged by the authorities to mistreat and even kill the victims. Many gay and bi men have been forced to flee from the region, with the assistance of the Russian LGBT Network.
And while so far they haven't been targeted to the same extent as gay and bi men, lesbians in the region are also extremely vulnerable and have been suffering mistreatment and in some cases, torture.
The challenging situation in Chechnya means that it is extremely difficult to obtain information and properly assess the scale of the crackdown against LGBT people. This report, which sheds light on just some of the horrors victims have had to endure, is testament to the tireless work by the Russian LGBT Network and Novaya Gazeta to document evidence of the atrocities.
It is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
Alongside our colleagues in other countries, Stonewall urged the UK Government to join other governments in asking the Russian authorities to immediately halt the horrific violence against LGBT people in Chechnya, when reports first came in. The UK Government responded and the international pressure, including extensive media coverage, led the Russian Government to launch an investigation.
However, reports continue that the persecution of the LGBT community in Chechnya is not over and serious concerns prevail that the investigation will not result in the perpetrators being brought to justice.
Stonewall will not let this rest. We will continue to stand with our partners in Russia and elsewhere urging the Russian authorities to immediately stop the violence and bring those responsible to justice.
How can you support LGBT people facing atrocities in Chechnya?
Read and share the full report here (content warning: some readers may find the contents of the report distressing)
Watch and share the Russian LGBT Network's short video about the crackdown, here.
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Donate here to support the Russian LGBT Network to continue its lifesaving work of assisting survivors