Authorities in Chechnya (Russian Federation) have vowed to eradicate the gay population in less than 30 days! They have been kidnapping and torturing men suspected of being gay or bisexual. We need to evacuate people out of the region as soon as possible to save their lives. Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) joins ILGA-Europe to raise money for evacuation and relocation.
Stories about the kidnappings, secret prisons and torture appeared in the media on April 1st. At this point we know about more than a 100 men who were taken from the streets or their homes and transported to isolated, secret locations. They are being beaten during interrogations and their confessions, phones and emails are used to identify other men who might be gay.
"They yelled, 'Who else do you know?' - said Maksim who was electrocuted to talk. The interrogators want the captured men to give them the names of their friends and partners. It was unbearably painful, I was hanging on with my last strength, but I didn't tell them anything."
"If beating with their hands and feet is not enough, they use electric shock, said Ruslan. They have a special black box and they attach wires to your hands or ears. The pain is awful. It's terrible torture."
Ruslan was released after the interrogations – the expectation was that his family and neighbors would „take care of him once and for all". Ruslan adds that the aim now is the extermination of gay men, so that there are none left in the republic.
to help us get people like Maksim and Ruslan to safety. We need to cover travel, visa and living costs until they reach their final, safe destinations.
KPH and ILGA-Europe have been monitoring the situation from the very beginning and are in contact with the people and organizations who are providing direct assistance to the victims on the ground, in Russia. It is crucial that they evacuate as many men as possible before they are detained by the authorities and placed in a prison. In the upcoming weeks, we will continue to assess the needs and ILGA-Europe will transfer needed funds to these activists directly.
What will your contributions pay for?
- $25 would provide food for one day
- $50 would pay for safe shelter
- $100 would cover all visa related fees
- $250 would pay for one person to get to a first safe destination
- $600 would pay for one person to get to a final safe destination
Your tax-deductible donation will help this network of European LGBTI human rights defenders organize the effort inside Russia to find safe haven for those under threat.
ILGA-Europe, an umbrella for 500 member organisations in Europe with more than 20 years of experience, pressures national and international decision-makers to change laws and react to atrocities, and mobilizes the movement. It is the most effective and trustworthy channel for saving lives in Chechnya. With its established relationships and security protocols, ILGA-Europe is able to respond effectively to the urgent and diverse situations arising in contexts as difficult as Chechnya in the Russian Federation. ILGA-Europe will manage and administer the funding for evacuation and reallocation costs by transferring it securely to Russia, where receiving funding from foreign entities puts activists at risk.
Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) is a Polish member organisation of ILGA-Europe. KPH has done groundbreaking work in Poland that lead to great changes in the social perception and acceptance of LGBT people, as well as brought Poland much closer to securing the rights of victims of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes. KPH is working closely with partners in the Eastern region: from Latvia to the Caucasus. Due to its large international presence, KPH is able to aid ILGA-Europe is raising funds needed for the evacuation of gay and bi men from Chechnya.
You can find more information about ILGA-Europe and situation in Chechnya here.
Photos of activists: By the Russian LGBT Network.