A GROUP in Melbourne has organised a vigil to help raise awareness around the alarming situation in Chechnya, and it calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to provide refuge and safety gay and bisexual men who wish to flee the republic.

As part of the vigil, people in Melbourne are being encouraged to stand in solidarity with gay and bisexual men following reports that Chechen authorities are abducting, torturing, and in some instances killing men in the region because of their sexuality.

Catherine Barrett and Adam Pulford are organising the Pink Wolves candlelight vigil to be held in Federation Square a day before the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBiT).

“I was devastated when I first heard these horrific reports, I knew I had to do something about it,” Barrett said.

“I keep imagining how it could have been my brother or my friends if they lived in Chechnya.

“We are running the vigil to give Melburnians a chance to stand in solidarity with the Chechen LGBTI community and to remember the men who have been killed.”

Barrett added the event has been called the Pink Wolves Vigil because the wolf is the national animal of Chechnya, and a symbol of freedom and equality.

“We’re calling for freedom and equality for gay and bisexual men in Chechnya,” she said.

The group is also calling on Turnbull and the Australian government to provide refuge and safety in Australia for gay and bisexual men who remain in Chechnya.

“Men in Chechnya are being tortured and killed because of who they love and Australia has an opportunity to do something about it,” Pulford said.

“The gay and bisexual men who remain in Chechnya are in grave danger. By providing them refuge in Australia we could save lives.”

Pink Wolves Vigil: Solidarity for gay and bisexual men in Chechnya

WHEN: Tuesday 16 May, 6-7pm
WHERE: Federation Square, Melbourne CBD
WHAT: Attendees are encouraged to bring flameless candles and to wear something pink

For more information, visit the Facebook event here.

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