At least 40 people have been detained and two have died as a result of their injuries
TORONTO, Jan. 15, 2019 /CNW/ - Rainbow Railroad is horrified to learn that two people are dead and nearly 40 others detained as a result of a new wave of arrests of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) individuals in Chechnya, according to confirmed reports.
"We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and connecting with our partners on the ground," said executive director Kimahli Powell. "Reports that Chechen authorities have started a new crackdown is disturbing."
In 2017, during the first wave of the crackdown, Rainbow Railroad reacted quickly to help 57 individuals escape Chechnya and travel to safety, and we continued to help more people in 2018, while working closely with the Russian LGBT Network.
Rainbow Railroad is calling on governments to step up and help. "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," Powell said.
"We have demonstrated we have the capacity to help, and we are willing to do so again should people need to escape," Powell said.
The Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has consistently denied allegations of illegal detentions, human rights abuses, or even that gay people exist in Chechnya.
"Those who managed to escape in 2017 are still experiencing serious trauma as a result of the humiliation, torture and abuse that they faced there," Powell says. In some cases, those released were taken to their family by Chechen officials who encouraged families to murder their relatives suspected might be gay or bisexual. Some of those who escaped remain terrified of speaking out or telling their stories because authorities have threatened to harm their family and friends.
In December 2018, a report was released detailing the appalling human rights violations and abuses suffered by LGBTQI Chechens in 2017. The report confirmed what human rights defenders and survivors have been saying all along, that they suffered extreme torture and other human rights abuses from Chechen state authorities, including extrajudicial killings. It also describes a worsening "climate of intimidation" against journalists and civil society activists.
About Rainbow Railroad
Rainbow Railroad is an international charitable organization that assists LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex) people seeking safe haven from state-enabled violence, persecution, and the threat of death where homosexuality is criminalized. We provide information, connections, and funding for travel and other associated costs. www.rainbowrailroad.com
SOURCE Rainbow Railroad
For further information: about Rainbow Railroad or to arrange an interview with executive director Kimahli Powell, please contact: Andrea Houston | [email protected]