Chechen LGBTI Refugees in Europe Start Fundraising Campaign

The Netherlands-based organisation LGBT World Beside wants to collect as many money as possible to support Chechen refugees who fled to Europe. Political scientist Rémy Bonny spoke with their leader. 

In the beginning of January new reports of detention, torture and murder of homosexuals became public in Chechnya. Also Rémy Bonny revealed 2 testimonials in regard to the recent gay purge. Recent intelligence also suggests that Chechen officials increased their witch-hunt on the local LGBTI-community.

img_9207H. fled to The Netherlands in 2016 from Chechnya. He is the leader of LGBT World Beside. With his organisation he wants to help fellow Chechen LGBTI refugees to safely settle down in Europe. The word ‘safely’ is extremely important in the last sentence. Even H. still does not want to reveal his full identity in an article. Another Chechen contact of Bonny is trying to escape a refugee camp in Western Europe because he’s afraid of being killed by relatives from the moment they discover the real reason for his fleeing.

Financial help

H. tells Bonny that the money is necessary to help the new refugees with their basic needs. “Many have arrived without any extra clothes. Some need legal help with the asylum procedure in certain European countries. Most of them are in desperate need of psychological assistance. We also want to help them with housing – outside regular asylum centres –  for the first months.”, says H. to Bonny.

The first goal is to collect 10.000 euro, “but we hope to get more”.

The organisation got a lot of public support by the American organisation Voices4 and the Belgian member of the Parliamentary Assembly and Special Rapporteur on the Chechen Gay Purge of the Council of Europe Piet De Bruyn.

Donations can be done through Facebook, PayPal or their dutch bank account (NL46 INGB 0009 0266 91).

International responsibility

According to Bonny the weak reaction of the European countries towards the recent LGBTI Purge in Chechnya is remarkable. “In 2017 Angela Merkel called Vladimir Putin to make an end to the torture and killings by the Chechen authorities. With the recent stories, almost no reaction from any Western government came. It more and more looks that the LGBTI-community in Chechnya is left alone by the European Union (EU) member states.”

Since the 2014 Ukrainian crisis, the tensions between Russia and the EU rose considerably. “Some EU member states want to normalise the relation between Moscow and Brussels in order to secure peace on Europe’s border and economic gains (via gas deals with Kremlin affiliated oligarchs). It seems that economy is more important than basic human rights of the LGBTI-community in Russia. Since the Soccer World Cup in Russia last summer, I don’t hear any government addressing the huge human rights violations against the LGBTI-community in Chechnya or in Russia in general.”, Bonny concludes.

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