Amsterdam protests against Chechen "gay camps"; calls on Dutch govt. to take action

Hundreds gather at the Gay Monument in Amsterdam to protest against "gay camps" in Chechnya, Russia, 19 Apr 2017
Hundreds gather at the Gay Monument in Amsterdam to protest against "gay camps" in Chechnya, Russia, 19 Apr 2017. Photo: @amsterdampride / Twitter

The municipality of Amsterdam calls on the Dutch government to admonish Russia about camps in Chechnya in which homosexual men are being locked up, alderman Eric van der Burg said at a protest against these camps at the gay monument in the Dutch capital on Wednesday. Amsterdam also wants State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice to change the asylum policy for Chechen LGBT men, ANP reports.

Over 500 LGBT people gathered at the gay monument in Amsterdam on Wednesday evening to show their horror about reports of "gay camps" in Chechnya. Other European cities like Milan and London also hosted protests against these camps. 

Last week human rights organization started sounding the alarm about the Chechen camps. Independent Russian media sources reported that gay men are being locked up in camps in the autonomous Russian republic, where they are abused and tortured. Earlier this month there were also reports that the Chechen government are hunting homosexual men. According to human rights organizations, more than 100 men have been locked up in these camps. There are also reports of some of them dying.

"Let us never close our eyes to torture, no matter where in the world it happens.", alderman Van der Burg said at the demonstration. "Let's continue to fight for equality for all."

The Chechen authorities denies that there are any homosexuals living in Chechnya, let alone being persecuted. "Because who does not exist in the republic, can't be arrested." The Russian government also claims not to be aware of any actions against homosexuals in Chechnya, according to NU.nl.

The Amsterdam alderman is not the first Dutch politician to call for action against these camps. Earlier this week Minister Lilianne Ploumen of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation asked the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to investigate reports from Chechnya. 

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