Canada vocalizes OSCE concerns about alleged human rights violations in Russia

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T.O. Chechnya with Love as if overtakes Church Street and moves up to the (former) Russian Consulate (Jason Paris/Flickr)

Official Moscow does not admit any problems in Chechnya

On August 30, 2018, on behalf of 15 OSCE participating states, Natasha Cayer, Ambassador of Canada to the OSCE, delivered a statement invoking Russia’s commitments under the Vienna Mechanism to respond to human rights concerns about violations and abuses against representatives of LGBTI in Chechnya.

Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States requested that Russia provide concrete information regarding Chechen officials unlawful actions against Chechen people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity; Russian federal investigation of the alleged crimes in Chechnya; freedom of report on the issue by Russian civil society and human rights organization; and the fate of “the 27 individuals who were reportedly extrajudicially executed by Chechen authorities in Grozny in January 2017.” Now, Russia has 10 days to answer, and if it does not, the Moscow Mechanism can be built on this, allowing the above-mentioned countries to establish an independent investigation mission. According to the OSCE, the Moscow Mechanism has been used seven times, with the last one in 2011 after the presidential election in Belarus. Despite the consensus-based nature of the OSCE, the two human dimensions’ mechanisms do not require consensus to move to action.

 “Numerous credible reports by media and civil society organizations over the past 20 months have alleged worrying actions taken by Chechen authorities against persons based on their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as human right defenders, lawyers, independent media, civil society organizations, and others. These actions include harassment and persecution, arbitrary or unlawful arrests or detention, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.”

Novaya Gazeta, which is, basically, referred as a credible source by the group of 15 OSCE countries, published a list of names of the 27 men killed in Chechnya on January 26, 2017. This Russian newspaper has been following LGBTI persecutions in the region since 2016. As reported in the same article, in fact, more than 56 people could have been killed, and more than a couple of hundred detained. Russian authorities denied all the allegations.

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