Senator Gavan calls on Council of Europe to investigate LGBTI persecution in Chechnya
Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has called on the Council of Europe to launch an investigation into persecution of the LGBTI community in Chechnya.
Senator Gavan was leading a debate on the issue for the United European Left Group in the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly.
114 members of the LGBTI Community have been forced to flee the state in the last year as a result of state supported persecution.
Addressing the chamber, Senator Gavan said;
“There have been documented cases of abduction, arbitrary detention and torture of men presumed to be gay, with the direct involvement of Chechen law-enforcement officials.
"There have also been reports of extra-judicial killings. This is a record of shame for both Chechnya and Russia and has unfolded against the backdrop of serious, systematic and widespread discrimination and harassment of the LGBTI community.
“Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this situation is that the very existence of LGBTI people in the Chechen Republic has been denied by Chechen and Russian public officials.
"Hearing statements like this makes one want to ask, what century do these people think they are living in?
“In the absence of Russia taking action, I support the call for an investigation by an international human rights body.
"I believe the Council of Europe could and should undertake this task."
Senator Gavan also took the opportunity during the debate to acknowledge progress made in the south of Ireland on LGBTI Rights, and pledged Sinn Fein’s support for marriage equality in the North of Ireland.
The Council of Europe subsequently unanimously endorsed a report calling for urgent action on the Chechnya issue, including the call for an international Investigation if Russia does not investigate the issues in a fair and impartial manner.