Amid international concern sparked by a reported crackdown on gay people in Chechnya, the European Parliament stands up for the defence of fundamental LGBTI rights in the Russian region and in the world.
These men have had to flee their homes in the Russian region of Chechnya. They hide their faces for fear of being recognized back home: they were lucky to avoid death at the hands of the Chechen military. They dragged me out of the car, started to beat me, humiliate me. They were saying that I was a gay person, a faggot. Authorities in the region are reportedly carrying out a brutal homophobic campaign. Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov dismissed the reports, saying gay men don't exist in Chechnya. A comment that did little to ease concern throughout the world... and Europe. The European Parliament called for a debate on the issue this month. We're seen and respected as the continent on this planet that has achieved most and against not so easy situations: we've had very Catholic, very conservative governments in the past and still do. But we're seen as really having achieved a lot and the Parliament is the most outspoken part of that. Russia is just one part of the puzzle. 71 countries around the world criminalize homosexuality: it's an offense punishable by death in 13 of them. European treaties forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation. In recent years, the Parliament has voiced concern that even in the EU, the rights of LGBT communities are not always respected.