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  4. Russia: One year after ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya, still no justice for victims
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That number jumped slightly when Russia hosted the World Cup this summer, as some foreign gay men obtained official fan passes for the soccer tournament and sought refuge after arriving in the country, according to Varvara Tretyak, a counselor with the Civic Assistance Committee, a Moscow-based nongovernmental organization that helps refugees and forced migrants. Some of the gay men fleeing to Russia, such as the Uzbek man cited in the complaint by his lawyer, hail from predominantly Muslim former Soviet republics in Central Asia, where they risk criminal prosecution and unofficial persecution due to their sexual orientation.

While those applicants have a certain grasp on Russian realities, Tretyak says that others -- such as applicants from Africa -- were unaware of the trajectory of LGBT rights in Russia, which rights groups and Western officials have accused of fostering discrimination and emboldening violence against sexual minorities in recent years. Putin and other officials deny that Russia discriminates against sexual minorities and have said the so-called "gay-propaganda" law enacted in is merely aimed at protecting children. Anton Ryzhov, a lawyer for the Russian LGBT organization Stimul representing the Uzbek man who was called a "dog" by the immigration officer, said he and his colleagues decided to file a formal complaint with the Interior Ministry in order to change what he called a "vicious" system for those seeking asylum and refugee status in Russia.

Russia is not alone in demanding evidence of sexual orientation from LGBT asylum seekers. But Ryzhov said the issue of evidence is to be considered at a later stage, noting that Russian law allows anyone the right to apply for asylum or refugee status. But they can't even do that," he said.

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Ryzhov's complaint also accuses immigration officers of "insults and discrimination" against his clients. The complaint cites several other remarks by the immigration officer to the gay Uzbek applicant, including her reference to HIV-positive individuals as "AIDS boys" and her remarks that it is "too bad that they developed a treatment" for the disease.

After the applicant says he hopes that he would eventually be allowed to marry his partner in Russia, the officer suggests he try his luck in Uzbekistan, whose deputy justice minister said in May that international calls for greater LGBT rights in the former Soviet republic are not on Tashkent's agenda. After Ryzhov and his client point out that criminal punishment for homosexual relations is still on the books in Uzbekistan, the officer appeared to long for a return to the Soviet-era criminalization of sexual activity between men.

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The Russian Interior Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the immigration officer's recorded remarks to the Uzbek asylum seeker or Ryzhov's objection to the treatment of his clients. Thierry, a gay Cameroonian man in his late 20s, said he was unaware of what rights watchdogs call a deteriorating situation for LGBT rights in Russia when he decided to apply for refugee status there this year.

Thierry, who agreed to speak on condition that his last name not be published, said he and his boyfriend were attacked "physically and verbally" in Cameroon after people learned that he was gay. He said he was also physically abused by his father and other relatives. Thierry said he ended up in Russia earlier in early after around four years of trying to flee Cameroon, where same-sex sexual relations are a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison.

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He says he made his way to Morocco and tried to flee to Spain by boat, and that he was rescued after the vessel capsized. An acquaintance in Morocco recommended that he go to Russia, Thierry said. This site uses cookies to help improve your online experience.

Learn more. The Russian authorities have abjectly failed to take effective action in response to the violent persecution of gay men in Chechnya, Amnesty International said one year after a series of homophobic crimes in the southern republic were exposed.

Russia: One year after ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya, still no justice for victims

However, to date, not one person has to be held to account for these crimes. The tireless work of human rights defenders, including from the Russian LGBT Network, has resulted in people being safely relocated from Chechnya, 98 of whom have left Russia. We have ensured the safety of victims and collected and publicized their testimonies. But one thing we could not do is launch an investigation and ensure criminal prosecution of the perpetrators.


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The Russian authorities, apparently, do not want to do this. Amnesty International reiterates its call on the Russian authorities to promptly and effectively investigate the reports of abduction, secret detention, torture and killing of men believed to be gay in the Chechen Republic.

It released a report on human rights violations in Russia last month. One witness said that police officers told relatives, "Either you kill your kid or we will do it for you.

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His identity was not disclosed because although he was then living in Moscow, he feared for his life. He said he was interrogated, physically abused and forced to contact a person he was dating.


  • 'AIDS Boy,' 'Dog,' And 'Disgrace To Society': How Russia Greets Gay Men Seeking Asylum?
  • Russia One year after gay purge in Chechnya, still no justice for victims | Amnesty International.
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Authorities "put a black plastic bag over my head and put a gun to my head," he said. Then they kidnapped him as well. Other Chechens who fled told NPR last year that secret police force gay men into outing their friends. In the Netherlands, the Immigration and Naturalization Service doesn't register the sexual orientation of people seeking asylum, making it difficult to determine how many LGBT asylum-seekers have been rejected. Anonymous members of online groups catering to the LGBT community are urging people in the area to delete information from their phones, change their numbers and destroy their devices, Russian news site Meduza reported.