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7th May 2017, 14:51:22 UTC

Amnesty International corroborates media reports of serious human rights abuses

Amnesty International members this afternoon voted unanimously to condemn reports of serious human rights abuses including attacks on men believed to be gay in Chechnya. Conference has mandated Amnesty International Ireland to write to the Irish government to express their concerns, while also providing people in Ireland with an opportunity to take action in solidarity with those who’ve experienced human rights abuses in Chechnya. Conference delegates further called on the Irish government to formally recognise people who have been forced to flee Chechnya as individuals requiring protection, to introduce a resettlement programme for them in Ireland, and to urge their EU partners to do the same.

On 1 April, Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, reported that over a hundred men believed to be gay had been abducted as part of a coordinated campaign. The men were reportedly tortured and otherwise ill-treated, and forced to disclose other LGBTI individuals. Novaya Gazeta claimed to have verified information about at least three men who were killed by their captors, but its sources claim there have been many more killings. Amnesty International has been able to interview some men who have since been relocated and is now in a position to corroborate these media reports.

“These attacks are the latest example of a pattern of state violence against groups of people in Chechnya. There have been previous attacks on the relatives of alleged members of armed groups whose homes were burnt down and who were left homeless with nowhere to go, often in the middle of winter. People alleged to be drug users or dealers have also been rounded up, tortured and ill-treated. Today, Amnesty’s members in Ireland have voted overwhelmingly to condemn these attacks and to call on the Irish government to express their condemnation directly to the Russian and Chechen authorities,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.

Amnesty International Ireland members have called on the Russian and Chechen authorities to:

  • Carry out prompt, effective and thorough investigations into the reports of abductions and killings of men believed to be gay in Chechnya and to ensure that anyone found guilty or complicit in such crimes will be brought to justice in accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation;
  • Take all necessary steps to ensure safety of any individual who may be at risk in Chechnya because of their sexual orientation, or for any other reason and to condemn in the strongest terms possible any discriminatory comments made by officials;
  • End impunity for crimes and human rights violations committed against a range of groups by the Chechen authorities

The Russian and Chechen authorities have an international human rights obligation to prohibit discrimination and to investigate and prosecute hate crimes, the most insidious form of discrimination. Following this call at annual conference, Amnesty International Ireland will write to the Minister of Foreign Affairs making a call for diplomatic action.

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