The Australian Government has said that any intervention in the LGBTQ+ human rights crisis in Chechnya will be delayed by months.
More than 1,800 people have so far signed an online petition calling for the government to act with sanctions against the Chechen officials accused of involvement.
The republic in Russia has allegedly been conducting a “gay purge” over at least five years, kidnapping, torturing, and killing LGBTQ+ people.
The petition, started by the Victorian Pride Lobby, has been taken to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade by Greens Senator Janet Rice.
The department has responded that it could take “up to around six months to create a new set of regulations”.
Nevena Spirovska of the Victorian Pride Lobby said that the government must do better.
“Every single queer person deserves to feel safe from persecution and violence, but in many places that sadly isn’t the case,” said Spirovska.
“In Chechnya, LGBTQ+ people are living in daily fear of being targeted for who they are or who they love, and it’s high time we do something about it.
“That’s why the Lobby created this petition – to urge the Australian Government to take action and send a clear message to Chechnya that these human rights abuses won’t be tolerated.
“Unfortunately, it seems like the government has dropped this in the ‘too hard’ basket by saying it would take months to sanction those responsible.
“This isn’t good enough. We need LGBTQ+ people around Australia to make their voices heard and let the government know that we want to see them act as soon as possible.”
As escapees from concentration camps have accused the Chechen government of torture, officials have denied the campaign of violence, but President Ramzan Kadyrov said in 2017 that he would defend the right of families to kill gay relatives.
Kadyrov has even claimed that no LGBTQ+ people live in Chechnya, saying, “This is nonsense. We don’t have those kinds of people here.”