11 May 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Fine Gael Senator for Cork, Jerry Buttimer met with the Russian Ambassador, Maxim Peshkov, in Leinster House this morning to discuss the worrying LGBT and human rights issues in Chechnya.
“During the meeting with the Ambassador I strongly condemned the mistreatment and detainment of over 100 gay men as widely reported in recent weeks. Stories and reports from survivors and volunteers outline the horrible conditions the gay community have been put through during the proclaimed ‘anti-gay’ purge.
“My Seanad colleagues, David Norris and Fintan Warfield, and I made absolutely clear to the ambassador that the discrimination of the LGBT community in Russia is an ongoing human rights issue that needs to be addressed immediately.
“Action must be taken to help those that have been targeted by this wave of violence and the perpetrators of these abuses must be held accountable.
“I was disappointed that at the meeting we were met with a metaphoric brick wall. The ambassador – continuing with the incredulous line taken by other Russian officials on LGBT issues – stated “there is no discrimination against gay people in Russia”.
“The denial of the existence of a LGBT community in Russia is not a new one. The Russian Embassy in Ireland has labelled the abuses suffered by the LGBT community in Chechnya as “fake allegations”.
“We have seen this before with statements from the office of Chechen political leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, that a gay community ‘does not exist’ in Chechnya, and if there was, their own families would take care of them before authorities could.
“Although I was disappointed with the Ambassador’s lack of willingness to work to promote equality, I hope this meeting is a step in a positive direction to engage in future open dialogue regarding LGBT issues in Russia.”