Advocates dismayed as Government blocks vote condemning Chechen anti-gay persecution

APN Chechnya editorialAdvocates are dismayed the Federal Government has refused to allow the Senate to vote for a Greens’ motion condemning persecution of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.

“The failure of the Government to allow this vote sends the message that it isn’t willing to do all it can to stop anti-LGBTI persecution,” said Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome. “The Government’s excuse that it doesn’t vote on matters of foreign policy and it couldn’t agree on wording will be cold comfort to gay and bisexual men being rounded up and executed in Chechnya.”

“Julie Bishop’s earlier statement was a good start but much more needs to be done including cooperation with like-minded countries at the UN to pass a resolution condemning Russia’s inaction and to launch an investigation into the extent of the persecution in Chechnya.”

“The Government should also be prepared to accept gay refugees from Chechnya. It’s particularly disappointing that Malcolm Turnbull hasn’t said a word about this crisis, unlike other heads of government such as Angela Merkel. We will continue to press for Government action, through parliamentary motions and through direct representations to Government leaders.”

Yesterday, Victorian Greens’ Senator Janet Rice, tabled a motion about persecution in Chechnya (included below). The Government refused to allow a vote on the motion on the basis that it doesn’t vote on complex foreign policy matters and that it didn’t support the wording of the motion.

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that the Senate –
1. Notes reports alleging that male citizens of the Republic of Chechnya assumed to be gay or bisexual are being rounded up, placed in ‘concentration camps’ and beaten and tortured on the basis of their actual or presumed sexuality.
2. Calls on the Government to:
a. Work with other nations on a UN resolution condemning the Chechen Government’s actions, and the Russian Government’s failure to stop them;
b. Publicly back the UN’s Free and Equal Campaign, a global public education campaign which raises awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and promotes greater respect for the rights of LGBTI people globally;
c. Be prepared to take gay and bisexual refugees from Chechnya;
d. Update Smart Traveller references to Chechnya and Russia;
e. Cut any trade and diplomatic links with Chechnya that Australia may have.

Senator Janet Rice, Senator for Victoria