Amnesty International Australia has called on Mathias Cormann to condemn the resurgence of anti-LGBTI violence in Chechnya when he attends the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.

Senator Cormann is heading the Australian contingent at next week’s World Economic Forum, which will also be attended by a high-level Russian delegation potentially including President Vladimir Putin.

Amnesty International has verified recent reports that Chechen authorities have resumed their ‘purge’ of LGBTI people, with as many as 40 people detained and tortured in what have been described as “concentration camps”.

The rounding-up of queer men and women is believed to have initially taken place in December 2016, with reports of the camps and the voices of victims emerging since April 2017.

The anti-LGBTI purge has tended to quieten following media attention, before quietly resuming – this latest round of detainments is believed to have started in December last year, with the Russian LGBT Network claiming that two victims have died since then.

“Being gay in Chechnya can get you abducted, tortured and possibly killed,” said Tim O’Connor, Amnesty International Australia’s Campaigns Manager.

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

“This homophobic and barbaric crackdown is worsening; Putin’s wilful ignorance to the situation is giving Chechnya the green-light to continue.

“Minister Cormann will be a respected and loud voice on many issues next week at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“He must use this moment when the world is listening to condemn the Chechen authorities, call for the immediate release of those detained, and call on Russian authorities to bring those responsible to justice.

“A high-level Russian delegation, and possibly President Putin himself, will be in Davos – they need to feel the pressure of the world’s condemnation, and the guilt of governing over the torture and murder of these Chechens, and to be forced to act,” O’Connor said.

“We call on Minister Cormann to represent the Australian people in Davos and be the voice that protects LGBTQI people in Chechnya.”

Amnesty says they have written to Cormann, who is Minister for Finance, to brief him on the issue and its ongoing importance.

Amnesty has launched a petition demanding action be taken to protect LGBTI people in Chechnya which has already garnered 2,500 signatures.

You can sign by clicking here.

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