The International Criminal Court Must Act on Chechnya’s ‘Gay Genocide’

Three French civil rights groups have filed an official complaint with the International Criminal Court, calling on the organization to investigate reports of Chechnya’s anti-gay crackdown. This development accompanies emerging allegations that the U.S. may be routinely denying asylum claims by at-risk LGBTs. 

As detailed by the BBC, the complaint highlights a number of incredibly concerning stories, supporting their assertion that there may be genocidal activity unfolding in Chechnya.

One high-profile case involves a 17-year-old boy who was allegedly thrown to his death from a ninth-floor window. The boy’s uncle believed him to be gay and was keen to ensure that this so-called sin did not tarnish the family’s honor.

Chechen authorities have reportedly called on parents to denounce any child’s claims of LGBT identity, while some reports allege that parents have been encouraged to take any steps necessary to correct that behavior.

Additionally, 100 men have reportedly been detained in camps throughout Chechnya. The practice of arbitrary detention is an ongoing problem in the Republic, and gay people are not the only ones affected. Victims have spoken out, describing that they were subjected to vicious beatings and electroshock torture and made to give up the names of other LGBT individuals.

After first denying that there was a problem, Russian authorities maintain that they are investigating the allegations. Even so, international agencies have accused Russia of not taking this situation seriously.

Russia will leave the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague this November, so the civil rights groups who have launched this complaint assert that time is of the essence to secure an impartial investigation. LGBT advocates aim to bring these abuses to light and, crucially, use the full weight of international law to put a stop to them.

Did the U.S. deny gay Chechens visas?

Since news first broke of Chechnya’s anti-gay crackdown, aid agencies working in Russia have attempted to get as many at-risk individuals out of the territory as possible. These civil rights groups have helped at least 40 people flee Chechnya to date.

This strategy, of course, relies on other nations opening their doors to victims of this persecution but, in a chilling collective silence, much of the world —  including Britain and the U.S. — has remained tight lipped on whether they will grant victims the safety they need.

Now, reports suggest that the U.S. is actively denying Chechens visas.

Buzzfeed reports:

A group of around 40 Chechens are now in hiding in other parts of Russia, Russia LGBT Network spokesperson Svetlana Zakharova told BuzzFeed News, and are having difficulty securing visas that would allow them to flee the country.


Zakharova told BuzzFeed News that “negotiations have been difficult” with representatives of countries that could provide safe refuge for survivors of the violence. She would not name the countries the organization was still trying to secure visas from because this could put any Chechens whose applications ultimately succeeded in danger, but she said in an email to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that “we were informed that the US is not going to issue visas for people from Chechnya.”

While the State Department has condemned the Chechen crackdown, the White House itself has remained silent.

Trump’s anti-immigration agenda is obvious, as he has actively blocked asylum and refugee claims from states like Syria via his “extreme vetting” programs.

Until this juncture, though, it hasn’t been apparent whether the Trump administration — which campaigned on the basis of it being “a friend” to the LGBT community — would actively address anti-LGBT crackdowns in other states, making an exception to this policy.

But the evidence to date indicates that the administration simply does not care about the plight of LGBT global citizens — and actively denying safety to those individuals who are most at risk.

Civil rights advocates have been quick to note that while initial rhetoric on the Chechen crackdown appeared strong and unequivocal, definable action from world governments is still absent.

At a time when the West is experiencing one of the biggest political shakeups in recent memory, it is easy for the international community to become insular and ignore at risk minorities, but it is crucial that attention remains on this issue.

Chechnya’s anti-gay crackdown is horrific, but it’s unlikely that just gay people are suffering. Where there is one set of human rights abuses, there are often many others — and left unchecked, this situation could quickly escalate.

The Hague should investigate these crimes without delay. And meanwhile, the international community must open its doors. Failure to do so could be a literal death sentence for LGBTQ Chechens.

Photo Credit: Global Panorama/Flickr


S J1 days ago

Promote love and equality, all livings are equal old act accordingly. Thank you for sharing

Carl R
Carl R1 days ago


Janis K
Janis K2 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

william Miller
william Miller4 days ago


Mark Vaughan
Mark Vaughan5 days ago

If we turn away refugees from this kind of oppression, we are just as guilty of that oppression. We are supposed to be the bright and shining beacon of hope for the world. Maybe we should act like it.

Carl R
Carl R5 days ago


Carl R
Carl R5 days ago


Sabrina D
Sabrina D6 days ago

You're absolutely right Rose R.

Marija M
Marija M6 days ago

Rose R. you are right. Tks.

Margie F
Margie F7 days ago

Thank you