Sexual torture of men by security forces is widespread in Syria

Bashar al Assad“These were moments when you didn’t recognize yourself as a human. As I lay there, it wasn’t that I wanted to die. It was that I wished I’d never existed.”

Author: Alex Bollinger

The post Sexual torture of men by security forces is widespread in Syria appeared first on LGBTQ Nation.

Russia ignoring Chechnya torture and murder, say European investigators

Vladmir Putin is ignoring the use of torture by Chechen authorities

Russia is failing to address the gravity of torture use by authorities in Chechnya. That’s the conclusion of the Council of Europe’s anti-torture Committee.

Yesterday, the committee issued a public statement. It urges the Russian Federation to do more to investigate reports of atrocities and an anti-gay purge.

Located in the North Caucasus region, Chechnya is a subject of the Russian Federation.

Its president is Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been in power since 2007. He tends to rule the country in accordance with traditional Islamic social codes, even if these contravene Russian law. Since late 2016, the country has arrested, detained and tortured LGBT citizens. Some men have disappeared, believed murdered.

There has been an international relief effort to help get LGBT people out of Chechnya. Political condemnation led Russian President Vladimir Putin in summer 2017 to say that Russia would investigate the reports. However, no action appears to have been taken.

New wave of atrocities

It was believed that international attention led to Chechnya halting its persecution of gay and bi people. However, late last year reports began to emerge that arrests had recommenced.

The full statement from the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) can be read here.

The CPT has issued statements on the use of torture in Chechnya on three previous occasions: 2001, 2003 and 2007. It returned to the region in November and December 2017 to see if the situation remained the same.

‘Regrettably, it is clear from the information gathered by the Committee in the course of those visits that resort to torture and other forms of ill-treatment by members of law enforcement agencies in the Chechen Republic remains widespread, as does the related practice of unlawful detentions which inevitably heightens significantly the risk of resort to ill-treatment, in particular due to the denial of fundamental safeguards.

‘Further, it remains deeply worrying that, in their responses to the CPT’s visit reports, the Russian authorities have failed to acknowledge the gravity of the situation.’

‘A deep-rooted problem’

The statement says, ‘torture and other forms of ill-treatment of detained persons in the Chechen Republic has remained a deep-rooted problem.

‘This speaks not only to a dereliction of duty at the level of the Republic’s authorities, but also to a failure of effective oversight and control at the Federal level. It is clear that the manner in which law enforcement officials in the Chechen Republic deal with persons in their custody must be subject to far closer and more robust supervision.’

The committee notes widespread reports of an anti-gay purge in Chechnya. This includes, ‘abductions, unlawful detentions, severe ill-treatment and extrajudicial killings of a large number of people – including but not limited to LGBTI persons – by, at the instigation, or with the acquiescence of law enforcement officials at various locations in the Chechen Republic.

‘The facts found during [our] 2017 visit lend credence to those claims.’

‘Impasse’

It says the committee has made repeated requests to Russia to carry out investigations.

‘Regrettably, the CPT’s ongoing dialogue with the Russian authorities on this subject has reached an impasse.’

Russian authorities have failed to show evidence to the committee that it is carrying out any investigation.

The committee says Russia must deliver, ‘a firm and unambiguous message of “zero tolerance” of ill-treatment to all members of law enforcement agencies operating in the Chechen Republic. … As part of this message, it should be reiterated that all forms of ill-treatment are absolutely prohibited, and that both the perpetrators of such acts and those condoning them will be punished accordingly.’

How you can help

Gay Star News is currently running a fundraiser to help raise money to halt the crisis in Chechnya. Money raised will go directly to the Russian LGBT Network to help tackle the crisis and to aid LGBTI people to flee Chechyna and seek asylum elsewhere.

Click below to donate.

See also

Chechnya’s gay purge: A timeline of the atrocities

WATCH: Inside the Chechnya concentration camp where gay men say they were tortured

Author: David Hudson

The post Russia ignoring Chechnya torture and murder, say European investigators appeared first on Gay Star News.

UN urges Russia to protect LGBTI in Chechnya from ‘cruel and violent’ abuse

United Nations (UN) experts on Wednesday (13 February) said they were ‘alarmed’ by a new wave of persecution of LGBTI people in Chechnya.

They urged Russia to protect the rights of people suspected of being LGBTI and investigate allegations of significant human rights abuses.

More than 40 people have been arrested and detained on suspicion of being LGBTI since December 2018, the UN said. Two people have reportedly died from torture.

News broke of Chechen authorities detaining gay and bisexual men in concentration camps in April 2017. Russia has so far avoided accountability.

‘Abuse inflicted on victims has allegedly become more cruel and violent compared with reports from 2017’ a statement released Wednesday said.

What’s more, according to the UN, Chechnya is now targeting women as well as men.

Worryingly, Chechen authorities are also preventing victims from fleeing the region or filing complaints.

Authorities are confiscating or destroying documents, threatening criminal proceedings, and forcing people to sign blank documents.

Seven UN experts, SOGI expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz, signed Wednesday’s statement.

What is happening in Chechnya?

A 2018 report confirmed systematic mass detentions, secret prisons, and torture of LGBTI citizens in the Muslim-majority region of Russia.

One gay man reported authorities torturing him in a homemade electric chair. He then had to give up names of other LGBTI people he knew.

Chechnya president Ramzan Kadyrov vowed to kill all gay men. He also said parents of LGBTI children should kill them to remove the shame from their family.

The arrest of group moderator on Russian social network VKontakte (VK) may have sparked this latest purge. Gay and bisexual men in the area use VK to contact one another.

The Russian LGBT Network has been scrambling to evacuate people from Chechnya.

Activists have so far evacuated about 150 people from Chechnya. But, there are 130 more evacuated Chechens in Russia who need assistance in leaving the region altogether.

The Network has asked for people in Chechnya needing assistance to email: kavkaz@lgbtnet.org or call 8 (800) 555-73-74.

Author: Rik Glauert

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