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New Year Brings Renewed Crackdown On LGBTQ Community In Chechnya

Two people are dead and at least 40 others have been detained…
 
Chechen authorities have started a new crackdown on LGBTQ individuals and it’s already proven to be deadly.
 
Through confirmed reports from activists in Russia, Rainbow Railroad has learned that two people have died in custody and about 40 others have been detained in this latest round of arrests targeting members of the LGBTQ community in Chechnya.
 
“We need the international community to put pressure on the Chechen government to halt the crackdown, and be ready to act should more people be targeted,” said Rainbow Railroad’s executive director, Kimahli Powell.
 
Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian-based international charitable organization that assists LGBTQ people seeking safe haven from state-enabled violence, persecution, and the threat of death where homosexuality is criminalized, helped 57 people flee Chechnya during the first wave of the crackdown in 2017. They continued to provide assistance to individuals in 2018 while working alongside the Russian LGBT Network.
 
“We have demonstrated we have the capacity to help, and we are willing to do so again should people need to escape,” said Powell.
 
A scathing report released in December 2018 by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) details the human rights violations and abuses suffered by LGBTQ Chechens in 2017. The report also confirms allegations of “harassment and persecution, arbitrary or unlawful arrests or detentions, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions”.
 
The Russian Federation has continued to refute reports of a crackdown on LGBTQ Chechens. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has consistently denied allegations of illegal detentions or human rights abuses and has previously claimed that there are no gay people in Chechnya.
 

 
JUMOL ROYES is a Toronto-based writer, content creator and communications strategist with a keen interest in personal development and transformation. Follow him on Twitter @Jumol.
 

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