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Russia Tells UN There Are No Gays in Chechnya

Valery Sharifullin / TASS

An official at Russia’s Justice Ministry has said at the United Nations that the rights of the LGBT community were not violated in Chechnya because there were no gays there.

The sentiment was first expressed by Chechen strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov who, faced with media reports that gay Chechens were allegedly detained and tortured, maintained that “we don’t have any gays.” Last year, the investigative Novaya Gazeta reported that more than 100 men had been starved, beaten, and tortured with electric shocks in a government-backed crackdown on local gays. 

“The investigations that we carried out [...] did not confirm evidence of rights’ violations, nor were we even able to find representatives of the LGBT community in Chechnya,” acting Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov told the UN Human Rights Council on Monday.

“Please, help us do this and find them,” he said.

Speaking at the council’s periodic review, Konovalov said “work is being done” toward a “full verification of allegations” of human rights violations.

He dismissed other UN member states’ accusations of discrimination in Russia as either “lacking concrete evidence” or “not at all related to their [victims’] political beliefs, sexual orientation, religious views and so on.”

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