UK slams Russian government’s ‘unacceptable’ response to Chechnya gay purge

Vladimir Putin

The UK has slammed Russia’s “unacceptable” response to the purge of gay people in Chechnya.

Human rights monitors reported last year that authorities in Chechnya – an autonomous region of Russia – were carrying out a homophobic purge, which the Kremlin failed to intervene to prevent.

Gay people in the region allegedly faced arrest, torture and execution – as the Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov publicly insisted that homosexuals are “not people” and should be removed to “purify” the blood of the region.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (Instagram)

The Russian government did not condemn the Chechen government – and recently claimed it was unable to verify the existence of any gay people in Chechnya.

Russian justice minister Alexander Konovalov told the UN last month: “The investigation showed that there were not any such incidents… there weren’t even representatives of LGBTI in Chechnya. We weren’t able to find anyone.

“Of course, what’s most important is to ensure full verification of all allegations of possible violations of human rights of the law of the Russian Federation.

“I’m sure that in that area that work is being done, just as there are investigations being done into crimes that have been committed.”

But the UK has warned that the government’s response does not stack up with the evidence.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP/Getty)

In a statement to the UN Human Rights Council this week, the UK government said: “The UK remains deeply concerned by the ongoing persecution of LGBT persons in Chechnya.

“The recent statement by the Russian Minister of Justice at Russia’s UN Universal Periodic Review, implying that investigations had been unable to find any LGBT individuals whose rights had been violated, UK slams Russian government’s ‘unacceptable’ response to Chechnya gay purge

More than 100 people fled Chechnya, according to Russia’s LGBT Foundation, and several have spoken out publicly about their experiences.

In 2013, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin signed off on anti-LGBT legislation known as the “gay propaganda law,” which bans children from being exposed to information deemed contrary to “traditional family values.”

Vladimir Putin during his successful 2018 re-election campaign (Getty)

France’s President Macron raised LGBT rights and Chechnya in his first meeting with Vladimir Putin last year.

He told the press: “I reminded President Putin of the importance for France of respect for all peoples, all minorities, and all opinions in civil society.

“We have raised the case of LGBT people in Chechnya but equally the case of NGOs across Russia.

“On these subjects, I have thus very precisely indicated to President Putin the expectations of France, and we have agreed to have an extremely regular follow-up together.”

He added: “President Putin has also indicated to me that he has taken several initiatives on the subject of LGBT people in Chechnya, with measures aiming to bring out the whole truth on the actions of the local authorities and to fix the most sensitive issues.

“Regardless, I will, for my part, be constantly vigilant on these issues, which correspond to our values.”