To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are planning to take in response to reports of the persecution and detention of LGBT citizens in Chechnya.
My Lords, the Government are extremely concerned by reports of the detention and ill treatment of more than 100 gay men in Chechnya. I issued a statement on
I thank the Minister for her Answer. We now have clear evidence that gay people are being detained in camps in Chechnya and hunted in Russia. In circumstances where people are in fear for their lives, will the UK Government consider a form of leave to enter in order that people can seek international protection in the UK?
My Lords, the noble Baroness raises the critical issue of the safety of individuals who are facing not just persecution: the Chechen leader Kadyrov wants their elimination before the start on Ramadan on
My Lords, the right reverend Prelate raises an issue that was partly addressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Barker. I assure her that we are working on this. That work has to be sensitive because I do not wish to expose anybody to real personal danger. Let us not underestimate the gravity of the situation in Chechnya. The threats that have been made both by the leaders and by people in the community are abhorrent. We will do our best to achieve international agreement on the safety of people who are threatened.
My Lords, the Chechen Republic is a federal subject of the Russian Federation and comes under the authority of the Russian Government in Moscow, so with regard to issues in Chechnya the buck stops with President Putin. With regard to wider issues across Russia, we believe that the situation for LGBT people has deteriorated since the law banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors was passed in June 2013. It is a very worrying situation.
My Lords, first, I thank the Minister for all the work she has done and the support she has given to this cause, in particular her statement of
My Lords, the noble Lord makes extremely valid points. I commit us to continuing to work on these matters throughout purdah, during which we can still do things, wholly within the rules, to uphold existing policy. I give him an assurance on that. It will be for a new Government to look at how they wish to act through co-operation across the international community, in both the Human Rights Council and the United Nations Security Council, but I would hope that any Government would wish to follow that course.
My Lords, I also welcome what the noble Baroness has said, but she will be aware that these very vulnerable men are vulnerable not only due to the actions of their Government but now from honour killings. Can she expedite what she has said she will do in terms of visas?
My Lords, the Answer I gave was with regard to asylum, and I want to make that absolutely clear. The noble Baroness raises a critical issue when she refers to the so-called honour killings of gay men by family members. To put this into context, detainees who have been held are being sent back home, which is tantamount to a death sentence, because police are using families to lure gay men back to the region to be arrested and they are then reportedly either tortured or killed. We are told that families are hunting down escapees and handing them over to the authorities. This situation needs international co-operation. I believe, from what has been said in this House today, that we have all-party co-operation.