A new petition aims to draw attention to homophobic and transphobic state abuse in Chechnya and spur action by the Australian Government.
The Victorian Pride Lobby has demanded that the Australian Government take action against Chechnya, where LGBTQ+ people have reportedly been kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured since at least 2017.
Chechnya, a republic in Russia, is among many regions in the world where being openly queer or trans remains unsafe.
President Ramzan Kadyrov has previously denied a “gay purge” in the region, but escapees have claimed they have been subjected to torture in concentration camps.
The Victorian Pride Lobby has called on Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne to intervene by taking sanctions against Chechnya.
The United States has already implemented sanctions against Chechen Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Ayub Kataev and Terek Special Rapid Responses Team Commander Abuzayed Vismuradov, who are both accused of involvement in the genocide.
“We’ve heard reports of LGBTQ+ people being arrested and tortured en masse in Chechnya for years now, but to date, the Australian Government has done very little about it,” said co-convenor Nevena Spirovska.
“It’s time we sent a clear message to Chechnya that the world is watching and that we won’t accept human rights abuses being perpetrated against LGBTQ+ people.
“That’s why we’re calling on Minister Payne to follow the lead of other countries and impose sanctions on two of the individuals behind these human rights abuses.
“All LGBTQ+ people deserve to live in safety and free from the fear of persecution or violence.”
Survivors have said that Chechen authorities urge parents to kill their gay children, according to the petition.
“Gay and bisexual men are being tricked into meetings using social media, only to be violently attacked or detained,” it reads.
“There are shocking reports of queer women being detained and subjected to acts of sexual violence.”
More than 1,400 signatures have been gathered so far on the online petition.
In 2017, three French LGBTIQ+ groups filed accusations of genocide against Chechnya in the International Criminal Court.