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With the Kremlin backed Chechnya president reportedly vowed to wipe out homosexuality in the region by Ramadan:

Chechnya’s president has vowed to ‘eliminate’ all gay men by the end of May. Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, threatened to rid the area of homosexuality ‘by Ramadan’. Ramadan, Islam’s holy month, begins on 26 May this year.

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‘He [Kadyrov] has carried out other violent campaigns in the past, and this time he is directing his efforts at the LGBT community,’ Duncan said in parliament. ‘Sources have said that he wants the community eliminated by the start of Ramadan.’ Kadyrov reportedly made the chilling threats in local Russian language media.

and reports of concentration camps for homosexuals in Chechnya.


A statement by UK Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Sir Alan Duncan to the House of Commons:

The arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of over 100 men in Chechnya because of their sexual orientation is of the utmost concern to the UK.

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Statements by the regional government in Chechnya that appear to condone and incite violence against LGBT people are utterly despicable.

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We condemn any and all persecution and call on the authorities to promptly investigate and ensure that the perpetrators of human rights abuses are brought to justice.

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This would be in accordance with international human rights commitments adopted by the Russian government to respect the human rights of all individuals.


What can the UK government do to help resolve this situation?

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Unfortunately, just because something is bad doesn't mean that the UK government fix it.

As Chechnya is not in the UK, the options of the government are limited to:

  • Diplomacy. The UK government can talk with the Russian Government, either through ambassadors or in the UN, and ask Russia to put pressure on its allies in Chechnya

  • Sanctions. The UK government could back up diplomacy by sanctions or the threat of sanctions. These could be economic, or consist of travel bans. Sanctions are more effective when carried out internationally. But as Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council, this is difficult

  • War. The UK could attack Russia. This would be illegal under international law, and would provoke a furious response (potentially leading to nuclear conflict). But the UK does have long range bombers with the ability to attack targets in Chechnya.

  • Aid. The UK could provide support to NGOs in Chechnya. It could also offer asylum to people who have escaped from Chechnya.

Of these, the third is unthinkable, the second is unlikely. The fourth gets bogged down in UK politics regarding aid and immigration. The first is probably already happening, at some level, but there are lots of other issues between Russia and the UK.

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