Advocate urges Prime Minister to take stronger action against anti-LGBTI persecution in Chechnya

Rodney CroomePrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been urged to do more to stop the persecution of LGBTI people in Chechnya.

Long-time LGBTI human rights advocate, Rodney Croome, has written to the Prime Minister on behalf of advocacy group, just.equal, asking him to introduce a parliamentary motion condemning “the cruelty of the Chechen Government and the indifference of the Kremlin.”

Mr Croome also called on the Turnbull Government to work with like-minded governments at the UN to censure Russia and launch an international investigation. After citing the positive impact of a recent apology by Tasmanian Liberal Premier, Will Hodgman, for past laws criminalising gay and transgender people, Mr Croome wrote:

“As you will know, officials in the Russian republic of Chechnya are rounding up, incarcerating and reportedly murdering men because they are gay. I congratulate your foreign minister, Julie Bishop, for expressing concern about this to the Russian Government. But Australia has an obligation to do more.”

“It is vital that heads of government make direct representations. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has lead the way by expressing her concern directly to Vladimir Putin. I urge you to introduce a motion to Parliament condemning the cruelty of the Chechen Government and the indifference of the Kremlin.”

“I also urge your Government to work with other like-minded governments to formally censure Russia at the United Nations and to launch a UN investigation into the extent of the abuses on Chechnya. Your support for the victims of anti-LGBTI persecution in Chechnya, as well as the support of the Australian Parliament, will send a strong message.”

“Two weeks ago Tasmanian Liberal Premier, Will Hodgman, apologised for Tasmania’s former laws against LGBTI people. He also moved a motion, last year, condemning the massacre of LGBTI people in Orlando. Having witnessed these events first hand, I can vouch for the positive moral and cultural impact of a head of government repudiating persecution and discrimination against LGBTI people.”

“One of the most important roles of a Prime Minister is to gather up the aspirations of millions of everyday Australians for fairness, equality and respect for human dignity, and deploy those aspirations to good effect. By your timely action, let those who suffer in Chechnya be the beneficiaries of our nation’s aspiration for a world without homophobic persecution.”

Image: Rodney Croome