Q Syndicate✍Jun 14, 2017
With all that has been going on in the U.S. of A. lately, it's easy to lose track of what's been going on elsewhere on the planet. This week's cartoon is a reminder that the Chechen government continues its pogrom of gay men. European heads of state have spoken out against the arrest, torture, and murders of gay men in the majority Islamic republic; a few who have escaped from Russia have been granted asylum in Lithuania and Germany. But,
[I]nternational condemnation of the atrocities has not translated into concrete assistance for Chechnya’s at risk and terrified gay men. So far, we only know of a handful of individuals who have been granted asylum in safe countries. According to the Russian LGBT Network, there are about 40 individuals currently in hiding in Russia, desperately trying to flee the country.Novaya Gazeta broke the original story in March, and as of late May, they report that while the arrests seem to have stopped, many of those arrested remain in custody, and 26 men have been killed.
Staying in any part of Russia is unsafe. Former detainees remain within easy reach of the Chechen authorities and there is a high risk of honour killings – there are cases where LGBT people have been followed to other regions and attacked by their relatives.
In response to international pressure, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in May to launch an investigation into the matter. Whether that investigation will have any effect on the Chechen government, whose dictatorial leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, continues to deny the very existence of gay men in his country,
“Chechen society does not have this phenomenon called non-traditional sexual orientation. For thousands of years the people have lived by other rules, prescribed by God,” [Kadyrov] told Russian journalists.So far, the Russian investigation hasn't turned up much. At the site of the prison camp where the gay men were reported to be held, investigators allegedly found only a demolished building covered by debris.