Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charles Flanagan, standing in front of a map of a country that looks like Russia, the country he is calling on to investigate the reports of a gay purge in Chechnya

Irish Minister For Foreign Affairs Urges Russia To Investigate Chechnya

Minister For Foreign Affairs, Charles Flanagan, joins international community in calling for Russia to investigate claims of a gay purge in Chechnya

 

Following GCN correspondence with the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister Charles Flanagan, has officially requested that Russia launch an investigation into the “alarming reports” of a “campaign of abduction, abuse and ill-treatment of men in the Chechen Republic on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

Minister Helen McEntee delivered a statement to the Seanad today on Minister Flanagan’s behalf calling on Russia to begin a thorough investigation into the allegations that gay men in the Chechen Republic are being detained, tortured and murdered as part of a gay purge authorised by the leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.

Minister McEntee demanded justice be brought to those who may have committed crimes which amount to “serious violations of fundamental human rights“.

The letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ office also indicates that last week a senior Departmental official met with the Russian Ambassador, Maxim Peshkov, to “convey grave concerns at the reports from Chechnya” and to investigate their veracity.

“In our international relations, Ireland supports the promotion and protection of the human rights of all persons, irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” the letter reads.

 

Incredulous Denial

This week, Senators David Norris, Fintan Warfield and Jerry Buttimer met with the Russian Ambassador to express their horror at the reports from Chechnya.

Senator Buttimer indicated that they were met with a “metaphorical brick wall” when discussing Russia’s stance on Chechnya.

“During the meeting with the ambassador we strongly condemned the mistreatment and detainment of the gay men,” Senator Buttimer said.

“We made it absolutely clear to the ambassador that the discrimination the LGBT community in Russia is an ongoing human rights issue that needs to be addressed immediately.”

Senator Buttimer indicated that the Russian Ambassador was adamantly attached to the “incredulous line” that no discrimination against gay people in Russia was occurring.

 

Letter

Below is the letter in full which GCN received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ office:

 

Dear Mr. Quigley,

 

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Charles Flanagan T.D., has asked me to thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the plight of gay men in the Chechen Republic in Russia.  The Minister is aware of alarming reports by international human rights organisations and in the media of a campaign of abduction, abuse and ill-treatment of men in the Chechen Republic on the basis of their sexual orientation.  If confirmed, these actions would amount to serious violations of fundamental human rights.

 

In a statement delivered to the Seanad on Minister Flanagan’s behalf by Minister Helen McEntee on 12 April, he joined in the widespread calls for the Russian Government to urgently undertake a full and thorough investigation into these reports and to ensure that any individuals found to have committed crimes be brought to justice.  The Minister also emphasised Russia’s international obligations to ensure the safety of all persons who may be at risk of persecution.  This call was reiterated by the Irish Ambassador to the Council of Europe at a meeting of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on 19 April.

 

Last week, at Minister Flanagan’s request, a senior Departmental official met with the Russian Ambassador to convey his grave concerns at the reports from Chechnya and to urge the Russian authorities to fully investigate the allegations and to ensure that, if shown to be true, those responsible are held accountable for their actions.

 

The European Union is also pressing the Russian authorities to ensure that the allegations are fully investigated and that those fleeing persecution are given full protection.  The EU High Representative Federica Mogherini raised the matter during a meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on 24 April.  HR Mogherini highlighted the serious concerns of the European Union and its Member states over the allegations and urged the government to take the necessary steps to ensure that the rights of the gay community in Chechyna are respected, in line with Russia’s international human rights commitments.

 

In our international relations, Ireland supports the promotion and protection of the human rights of all persons, irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity.  Ireland believes that consensual same-sex relationships between adults should not be criminalised and supports measures to ensure that the right to freedom of expression and association can be enjoyed effectively by all people.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

_______________

Cormac Hynes

Private Secretary

 

Image: Chatham House via Flickr  (CC By 2.0)

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