Russian LGBT activists collect 300 000 euros to evacuate gays from Chechnya
Since April 2017, Russian LGBT activists have managed to raise 300 000 Euros to evacuate members of the LGBT community from Chechnya, and provide them with psychological assistance.
The evacuation operation began after Russian press reported about the persecution of people of non-traditional orientation in the republic. By 18 May, the Russian LGBT Network managed to raise USD 176 000 to evacuate gays from Chechnya.
In April, Novaya Gazeta reported about mass arrests and murders of men suspected of unconventional sexual orientation in Chechnya, as well as on a “secret prison” for gays in Argun. Chechen authorities called these materials a provocation. However, residents of Chechnya that were interviewed by Caucasian Knot said that they had known about the physical massacre of gays long before it was published.
According to the Russian LGBT network, they have been able to raise 300,000 euros over 7 months, beginning in April 2017, as part of the evacuation campaign.
“The funds received have been spent on travel, accommodation, food, providing victims with basic necessities, as well as medical and psychological assistance, and preparing all necessary documents. Anyone who wants can contribute to helping Chechen gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people who have found themselves in a life-threatening situation,” the Russian LGBT Network reported.
As of the beginning of October 2017, the network has not mentioned the exact number of people who have been evacuated from Chechnya. Since the movement began to save people in the North Caucasus who were being subjected to pressure and persecution because of their sexual orientation, 130 people had applied, and 60 of them had been evacuated as of July. On 3 September, the Canadian non-profit organization, Rainbow Railroad, reported that it had helped 35 gays from Chechnya to leave Russia.
The Russian LGBT Network stated that at the end of August, a coalition of Russian LGBT organizations submitted a report on the situation of LGBT people in Russia to the UN Committee on Economic, Cultural, and Social Rights.
The document, among other things, talks about discrimination in the workplace, hate crimes against people of different sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as discrimination against transgender people.
According to the Russian LGBT Network, 17 percent of LGBT people have faced problems with either their employer, or colleagues, purely on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. The report also includes information about specific cases of human rights violations and discrimination faced by LGBT people in Russia.
Earlier, the Russian LGBT Network published a report on the persecution of gays in Chechnya. It was based on the personal experiences and testimonies of 33 people from Chechnya who were illegally detained and tortured during several campaigns against homosexual people. The report, prepared by the Russian LGBT Network in cooperation with Novaya Gazeta’s special correspondent, Elena Milashina, stated that in Chechnya, even relatives of those who are of non-traditional orientation were severely beaten and killed, with the full complicity of the authorities or by their direct orders.