Chechnya opens new concentration camp for gay men



More than 100 gay men are being held at a concentration camp in Chechnya and three have been murdered already, according to newspaper Novaya Gazeta (literally translates to “new newspaper”). This is the first concentration camp targeted at homosexuals since the Holocaust, yet not enough people even know what Chechnya is to care.

The Chechen Republic, commonly known as Chechnya, is a federal property of Russia. Chechnya, holding nearly 1.4 million people, is famous for its conservatism and hatred towards the LGBT community. 

The recent claims of such a concentration camp have sparked comments from both sides of Russians.

Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov’s spokesperson told Novaya Gazeta, “If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them since their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.” The president’s spokesperson said that homosexuals do not exist in Chechnya and denies the claims of the concentration camp.

However, Svetlana Zakharova from the Russian LGBT network had a different story, according to MailOnline. The network set up a hotline for people to call if they are in danger of torture, and the network claims to have received many calls. “Those who have escaped said they are detained in the same room and people are kept altogether, around 30 or 40. They are tortured with electric currents and heavily beaten, sometimes to death,” said Zakharova.

Although no pictures have surfaced of the concentration camp, the media claims that this story is true, which is reasonable. Although there are two sides to this story, one dominates the other with hatred.

In general, Russians tend to be socially and politically conservative, including humans rights. In recent years, homosexuality has become an increasingly frowned upon subject in Russia, and the Chechen president’s spokesperson is not completely wrong by saying that relatives would send homosexuals to a place of no return. Even as the LGBT+ movement is growing in countless countries around the world, homosexuality continues to be illegal in Russia. The movement is not strong or put together in Russia, which makes it easy for Russian law enforcement and normal citizens to ostracize the community.

Silence will only encourage places like Chechnya to continue infringing on human rights. Pressuring Russian leaders and politicians to stop the abuse of homosexuals is the only way to stop such an awful crime, and it starts with knowledge.