IBAHRI calls for UN inquiry into alleged human rights violations of Chechen men
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has called upon the members of the United Nations Committee against Torture (UNCAT) to instigate an inquiry into claims that 100 men have been detained and tortured in a secret prison in Chechnya on account of their real or suspected sexual orientation. Three of the detainees are reported to have been killed.
In a letter to the UNCAT, co-signed by IBAHRI Co-Chairs Baroness Helena Kennedy QC and Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell, concerns are raised about ‘the seriousness of the alleged violations in Chechnya’. The letter goes on to state: ‘In traditional Chechen society, where homophobia is widespread and as extreme as to allow or justify “honour killings”, proper attention must be given to the State’s legal obligation to safeguard the human rights of everyone.’
Further, the letter describes the rebuttal of the allegations by Chechen officials – who claimed that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons do not exist is Chechnya – as defying ‘accepted understanding of the existence of same-sex orientation all around the world’. The letter also emphasises the obligations of the Russian Federation to protect its citizens from treatment of this kind under the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by the Russian Federation in 1987.
The concluding paragraph calls for the UNCAT to undertake an inquiry, under Article 20 of the Convention, to determine whether the rights contained in the Convention have been violated by the Russian Federation.
Notes to the Editor
The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Through its global membership of individual lawyers, law firms, bar associations and law societies it influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.
The IBA’s administrative office is in London, United Kingdom. Regional offices are located in: São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington DC, United States, while the International Bar Association’s International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law Programme (ICC & ICL) is managed from an office in The Hague, the Netherlands.
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
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