News broke yesterday that concentration camps for homosexuals have sprung up all over Chechnya. So far there have been three killed and over 100 detained. Here are 5 things you need to know about Chechnya.
1. Chechnya is ruled under partial Islamic law:
Current President Ramzan Kadyrov has slowly begun the ushering in of Islamic law. Considering Chechnya is a Muslim majority country the idea of Islamic ruling wouldn’t be a bad thing to the majority of the population. Chechnya has begun a transformation from Nationalism to Pan-Islam. Many Russian laws have been replaced with elements of Sharia law.
2. This would not be the first time Chechyna comes under fire for a human rights violation:
Chechnya has human right violations that go back all the way to World War 2. During the second World War many were thought to be Nazi collaborators. This is quite ironic due to the fact these camps will be the first against homosexuals since the second World War.
Here is a list of Chechnya’s Human Rights violations:
September 1, 1997: Chechnya bans Anal Sex. First and Second offense caning. Third offense results in death.
2005-2006: An article from hrw.org in 2006 points out the unethical torture of Chechen political enemies.
Torture in both official and secret detention facilities is widespread and systematic in Chechnya, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper issued today, just as the UN Committee against Torture concluded its review of Russia.
“If you are detained in Chechnya, you face a real and immediate risk of torture,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “And there is little chance that your torturer will be held accountable.”
February 1, 2009: More evidence is released in showing that torture of citizens still ran rampant in Chechnya.
March 10, 2011: Chechnyan government pushes for an Islamic dress code for women.
“The president Ramzan Kadyrov is quoted as saying “I have the right to criticize my wife. She doesn’t. With us [in Chechen society], a wife is a housewife. A woman should know her place. A woman should give her love to us [men]… She would be [man’s] property. And the man is the owner. Here, if a woman does not behave properly, her husband, father, and brother are responsible. According to our tradition, if a woman fools around, her family members kill her… That’s how it happens, a brother kills his sister or a husband kills his wife… As a president, I cannot allow for them to kill. So, let women not wear shorts…”.
As you can see Human Rights violations are a huge part of Chechnya’s recent past.
3.Gay people are being detained and tortured:
Svetlana Zakharova, from the Russian LGBT Network, told MailOnline: ‘Gay people have been detained and rounded up and we are working to evacuate people from the camps and some have now left the region.
‘Those who have escaped said they are detained in the same room and people are kept altogether, around 30 or 40. They are tortured with electric currents and heavily beaten, sometimes to death.’
4. Chechen President Razman Kadyrov declares homosexuals don’t exist in his republic
Kadyrov’s spokesman Alvi Karimov told the Interfax News Agency:
‘You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic. ‘If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.’
This quote is pretty much stating that if there are homosexuals in Chechnya their family does the country a service by disowning them by any means necessary.
The extreme hardships LGBTQ community members go through is seen in a quote from Tanya Lokshina that she gave to the Human Rights Watch:
‘For several weeks now, a brutal campaign against LGBT people has been sweeping through Chechnya.
‘These days, very few people in Chechnya dare speak to human rights monitors or journalists even anonymously because the climate of fear is overwhelming and people have been largely intimidated into silence.
‘Filing an official complaint against local security officials is extremely dangerous, as retaliation by local authorities is practically inevitable.
‘It is difficult to overstate just how vulnerable LGBT people are in Chechnya, where homophobia is intense and rampant. LGBT people are in danger not only of persecution by the authorities but also of falling victim to “honour killings” by their own relatives for tarnishing family honour.’
5. Many have called for Russia to step in:
Alexander Artemyev, from Amnesty International in Russia, told MailOnline:
“We can only call on the Russian authorities to investigate the allegations. Homosexuals in Chechnya are treated very harshly and prosecuted daily and they are afraid to talk about it.
‘They either have to hide or leave the republic. We are keeping in touch with the LGBT network that helps people in Russia to find shelter. The problem is people there cannot talk about it as it puts their lives and those they speak to, in danger. This is the main issue we are facing in Russia and the main challenge.”
President Razman Kadyrov is a key ally of Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Chechnya is a federal subject of Russia. This gives him more than enough power to investigate and curtail the injustices to homosexuals in Chechnya.