A group of 78ers have condemned the alleged gay concentration camps in Chechnya and plan to protest them at the Consulate of the Federation of Russian Republics in Sydney.

The 78ers, who participated in the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras back in 1978 and who were violently attacked by the police, have called for an end to the persecution of people who are perceived as gay or bisexual in the Chechen Republic.

According to recent reports more than 100 men have been sent to gay concentration camps in Chechnya where they’ve been rounded up, tortured, and in some instances killed as part of an anti-gay crackdown.

“The persecution of LGBTI people in many parts of the world is acute and worsening, despite huge strides elsewhere,” the 78ers said in a statement.

“For those of us who struggled to emerge from our own past homophobic conditions characterising our lives in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s we express solidarity with our Chechen brothers and sisters.

“We assert the right for sexual minorities in all parts of the world to live without fear and to be free from persecution, intimidation, entrapment, arbitrary arrest, and violence.

“Further we call for the Australian Government to reassert these rights.”

The 78ers have also endorsed the call by the Office of United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner in Geneva for the government in Moscow to investigate recent reports of abductions, unlawful detentions, torture, beatings, and killings of men perceived to be gay or bisexual.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has also raised concerns about the recent reports around gay concentration camps in Chechnya.

She said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had sought assurances from Moscow that no Australians were involved.

“We have raised concerns directly with the Russian government,” she said.

“We are seeking advice from the Russian government on whether any Australians are involved so that we can offer appropriate consular assistance.”

At 5.00pm on Saturday 29th April the 78ers will protest these Chechen and Russian abuses of human rights at the Consulate of the Federation of Russian Republics in Woollahra in Sydney, Australia. The public is welcome to join.

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