Pussy Riot to join Australian rally for Chechnya’s LGBTIQ community


Photo: Igor Mukhin/Wikimedia Commons

Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot will be joining Amnesty International Australia at a rally in Adelaide tomorrow to call for justice for Chechnya’s LGBTIQ community.

In January, Russian activists warned of a “new wave” of arrests and violence against gay Chechens, after the country’s brutal “gay purge” first triggered global outcry in 2017.

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Pussy Riot are in South Australia for this year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival. On Wednesday, the group will don their famous woolen balaclavas and join local queer activists at South Australia’s Parliament House from noon tomorrow (March 6) to call on the Australian government to pressure Russia on protect LGBTIQ Chechens.

Amnesty International Australia’s advocacy adviser Joel Clark said the “homophobic and barbaric crackdown” was worsening in Chechnya and Putin was displaying “wilful ignorance” to the situation.

“Being gay in Chechnya can get you abducted, tortured and possibly killed,” he said.

“We have verified reports that more than forty gay and lesbian men and women have been rounded up by Chechen authorities, held and tortured in government buildings. Two people have been killed.

“There are now reports of families being offered rewards for killing LGBTQI family members and showing evidence to the government.”

Both the Kremlin and Chechen government have both repeatedly denied allegations that gay men are being detained and tortured in the region, despite victims bravely speaking out about the violent torture.

The Russian LGBT Network said in January they’ve helped more than 150 people flee Chechnya since the anti-gay crackdown began in April 2017.

In December, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) published a damning report “very serious human rights violations” in Chechnya including “clear” and “indisuputable” crimes against the LGBTIQ community and called on Russia to investigate.

Almost 17,000 Australians have signed an Amnesty International petition calling on Russia to intervene and protect LGBTIQ Chechens from violence.

 

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