Hobart vigil calls on Prime Minister to speak out on Chechnya persecution

Hobart VigilSpeakers at a vigil in Hobart on Thursday night called on Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull to do more to end the persecution of gay and bisexual men in the Russian republic of Chechnya.

Responding to recent reports of gay and bisexual men being incarcerated, tortured and executed, about 60 people gathered at Hobart’s Railway Roundabout Fountain for the vigil, which was lit in rainbow colours by the Hobart City Council, and was organised Queer Youth of Tasmania (Finnian Burman and Sarah Livingston) and Amnesty International (Andrew Badcock).

Speakers Sarah Livingston, Finnian Burman, Andrew Badcock and Rodney Croome all called for greater government action to end the persecution:

“This event holds great meaning to the local LGBTI community, as it gives us a way to feel hope in the face of a hopeless situation,” said Finnian Burman. “I’d like for this vigil to spark national conversation about human rights, and for our government to take notice.’

“I was committed to organising an event for Chechnya, because I consider the LGBTI community my family, and it disgusts me that members of my family could be treated this way with no repercussions,” said Sarah Livingston.

“Each of us how the power to make a difference, even if it is just to sign a petition or write to our government asking it to do more,” said Andrew Badcock.

“This vigil sends a message to Malcolm Turnbull that he must join other heads of government like Justin Trudeau and Angela Merkel in condemning the cruelty of the Chechen Government and the indifference of the Kremlin,” said Rodney Croome.

“More and more people across the western world and right here in Tasmania have given up on the ideals of justice and equality and increasingly admire authoritarian regimes that trample human rights. Our message to them is that every human being has inalienable rights and dignity no matter our sexuality or gender identity and no matter where we live.”

If you would like to call on Malcolm Turnbull to provide refuge and safety for those fleeing Chechnya, click here!

Image: Attendees at the Chechen Vigil at the Railway Roundabout Fountain, Hobart (supplied)