Last weekend, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an article reporting that over 100 people have been detained on suspicion for being gay in Chechnya, and suffered torture and humiliation. At least three men were killed.
At his opening statement today, the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani MEP condemned the attacks: “I will confirm once again the European Parliament’s absolute condemnation of any discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation. The European Parliament will always defend these values, even outside its borders.”
Chechen authorities denied the facts, claiming there are no gay people in Chechnya.
Chechen leader’s Kadyrov press secretary added that “if there were [gays in Chechnya]. . . law enforcement agencies would not need to have anything to do with them, because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”
Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the LGBTI Intergroup, reacted: “We strongly welcome the strong statement by President Tajani this morning. Indeed discrimination against LGBTI people is unacceptable, and we have to fight this inside as well as outside of the EU.”
“The words of authorities have revealed the dangers that LGBTI people face in Chechnya. Many cannot even trust their own relatives, as they risk falling victim to “honour killings”. The recent persecution by authorities have made LGBTI people even more vulnerable. This violent homophobia needs to stop!”
“I call on Chechen and Russian authorities to immediately end this violence, release those who are still arbitrarily detained and take measures to protect LGBTI people.”
Ian Duncan MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, added: “Ignoring, denying or minimising the facts, like Russian authorities are doing, is an insult to the victims and all LGBTI people.”
“At the highest level, they should condemn the attacks and start a proper investigation into the events to ensure that those responsible for the persecution are held to justice.”
Watch the statement by President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani here.