Human Rights Abuses in Chechnya: 15 OSCE Countries Invoke Vienna Mechanism

On August 30, 2018 fifteen governments in Europe and North America, including Lithuania, released a statement in request for Russia to put an end to serious human rights violations and abuses in Chechnya, involving systematic persecution, detention and torture of perceived or actual homosexuals. Acting as members of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the governments invoked the Vienna Mechanism to which the Russian Federation is part of with the aim to end wide-spread impunity and hold perpetrators accountable. Russia has ten days to respond.

Nearly twenty months after the large scale raids and killings of perceived or actual homosexuals in the autonomous Russian republic of Chechnya were first reported, over three hundred LGBTI people have reportedly been detained, imprisoned and tortured by the officials due to their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

In a statement, delivered by a Permanent Representative of Canada to the OSCE Natasha Cayer, fifteen states condemned Russia’s “apparent unwillingness or inability” to address serious human rights violations that occurred in Chechnya over the past twenty months and invoked Russia’s commitments under the Vienna Mechanism to respond to these concerns in a matter of ten days.

The statement was signed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.