Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Gay men sent to concentration camps in Chechnya

by Charlotte Luft
Mon, Apr 17th 2017 09:30 pm
Photo taken from The Guardian on Twitter

Chechnya faces much scrutiny due to its established concentration camps which target gay and bisexual men within the community. The government doesn't consider these actions wrong because gay and bisexual men are not viewed as citizens.
Photo taken from The Guardian on Twitter Chechnya faces much scrutiny due to its established concentration camps which target gay and bisexual men within the community. The government doesn't consider these actions wrong because gay and bisexual men are not viewed as citizens.

 Yes, this is really happening. This isn't an alternative fact or an article in The Onion. Russia has officially opened up concentration camps for gay men.

According to newstalk.com article, "Russian region reportedly opens concentration camps for gay men," by Fionnuala Jones, more than 100 men were rounded up in Chechnya and put into these camps because of their sexual orientation. 

Almost as disgusting as the reopening of concentration camps for one of the first times since Hitler's reign, are the words of its spokespeople. According to newstalk.com, one spokesperson, Alvi Karimov, is reported as saying "You cannot arrest or repress people who just don't exist in the republic."  Family members who believe the reputation of the family is being tarnished can also subject gay men in Chechnya to "honor killings" which go unpunished by the government, according to snopes.com.

According to snopes.com, the Human Rights Watch has received information that verifies the existence of the detention centers and is asking Russian leaders to publicly denounce attacks against the LGBTQ community.  

According to the euromaidenpress.com article, "Kadyrov opens first concentration camp for gays since Hitler times," by Paul A. Goble the inmates at the concentration camp are either killed or forced to promise to leave the country.  While at the camp, the men are beaten with cables and tortured with electric shocks in order for the government to attain names of more people in the LGBTQ community. According to the BBC article, " Chechen police 'kidnap and torture gay men' - LGBT activists," by Laurence Peter  more than 30 inmates are forced into one cell and some of the victims were Muslim clerics close to the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. 

According to The New York Times article, "U.N. experts condemn killing and torture of gay men in Chechnya," by  Sewell Chan, the United Nations demanded on Thursday, April 13, that Chechnya stop the detention of gay and bisexual men. 

Journalists in Chechnya are now being threatened for attempting to report on the internment camps. According to The Washington Post article, "Reports about torture of gays in Chechnya produce no investigation, just threats against journalists," by Andrew Roth, the reporters who broke the story about the concentration camps in the Novaya Gazeta, Elena Milashina and Irina Gordienko, along with their colleagues have been forced into hiding.

The Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, has not taken any action thus far or said anything against the Chechen government.

Where does this leave us? Chechnya is attempting to completely eradicate the gay population of its country and is now going after its journalists, but Putin has yet to comment. What is even more upsetting than Putin's lack of action is that the media did not report on "honor killings" of LGBTQ  people before the internment camps were created.

Sometimes it seems as though there is too much bad in the world. "Honor killings" may not be the same organized torture of the created internment camps but they are still a violation of human rights and the stepping stone to a more organized mass killing of people.

We never seem to learn from our history and mistakes. Hitler took power because no one seemed to be watching. He slowly took control of the Reichstag by building the membership to his party and through that he used the party's seats as a bargaining chip to become the Chancellor. If we begin to ignore the small violence acts and aggressions against minorities, the people performing those acts without backlash become more bold and increase their aggressions until the acts of violence reach international news. 

In these types of situations it is difficult for the public to cause an uproar because of the government. I cannot offer up any solutions. All I can say is we cannot continue like this and we must stay alert and informed.

We have to get better somehow and learn from our history. Children should not grow up afraid to be who they are or grow up without basic necessities. We have the supplies and the means to fix this.

We don't need to fix the situation; we need to fix the system that allows something like this to happen in the first place.

cluft1@brockport.edu

Photo of the Week