Europe, Chechnya, Human Rights, Editor's Choice

Chechnya and Human Rights: Crimes Against Gay Community

Being gay isn’t easy, yet it’s easier than it’s ever been, at least in western countries that is. We’re not talking about the actual sexual orientation, but about acceptance and rights that still can’t be described as perfect anywhere. But even when looking at the flawed situation gay people sometimes find themselves in even in the most progressive countries, there will always be the cruel knowledge of just how much people have to suffer for their sexual orientation elsewhere in the world. The most recent case of which is just taking place in Chechnya.

Inhumane Crimes Against the Gay Community

When talking about “elsewhere”, I’m actually sitting in a room in Germany, well aware that there is a part of Russia, namely Chechnya, performing brutal and thorough sweeps to identify and intern gays into what some sources call concentration camps. I’m currently closer to a place where innocent people are getting beaten and killed for their sexual orientation than Vancouver is to Montreal.

It’s been just a few weeks since the Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta broke the news of roughly one hundred members of the gay community being rounded up and tortured within Chechnya. Three of them were killed, while some of them were let go due to lack of evidence. A shocking case of human rights violations, that seemed to put everyone in unease, except those directly in power. The leader of the region, Ramzan Kadyrov and his predecessor Aslan Maskhadov are directly to blame for the situation through introducing and strictly enforcing the sharia law in the region since 1996, making sodomy a harshly punished crime through cane whippings and, on the third offense, execution.

This was the stepping stone of a situation that now horrifyingly climaxed in organized killings and humiliation by government forces in a region that’s technically controlled by Russia, which legalized homosexuality back in 1993 but grants Chechnya autonomy in some regards such as this one apparently.

Russia Has not Taken Action in Chechnya

Russian authorities are still refusing to step in, seeing no proof for the reports, which calls for actions by the surrounding nations to provide aid for those of the gay community who chose to flee persecution, as “honor killings” are a regular occurrence in the region, and gay citizens that manage to get released may still face violence and death from their closest friends and family. Russia has, unrelated to the Chechen Republic incidents, a bad track record in treating acts of homophobia within its borders, which makes its reaction to these acts of violence and ignorance not less shocking, but in check with their core values though they’re not mirrored in legislation.

Updates on the development of the situation are sparse and there is no way of predicting the further development of human rights within the area. As long as Russia is not enforcing their own laws in the region, how minimalistic they may be in that regard anyway, homosexuals will neither be safe nor accepted anytime soon. If their own country cannot provide safety for their citizens, it is the duty of the rest of us to provide shelter for those who manage to break free from their repressive government.

If you have any further news or information on the situation in Chechnya contact me at Andreas (at)

About Andreas Salmen

Born and raised in Germany, learned a job in IT and Business and ultimately decided that this wasn't exactly where my life was going to end. Left everything behind to become a writing backpacker instead. The world's crumbling away anyway so why not write about it and get a few good Instagram pics on the way, am I right?

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