NZ urged to condemn Chechnya violenceSave
By Nicholas Jones
A cross-party group of MPs has written to Foreign Minister Murray McCully urging him to condemn violence against gay men in Chechnya.
The Rainbow NZ Parliamentary Network has called on McCully to ask Russia to investigate the detention and alleged murders of men perceived to be gay in Chechnya.
The group includes National MP Paul Foster-Bell, Act Party leader David Seymour, Labour MP Louisa Wall and Green MP Jan Logie.
Foster-Bell said the reports coming out of Chechnya "require us to raise our voices".
"This kind of violence needs to be quickly and clearly condemned."
Seymour said comments by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov that gay people don't exist were ludicrous and dangerous.
"We strongly urge the Minister and other world leaders to use whatever peaceful means they can to defend Chechen men's rights to self-expression, life and liberty."
Logie said developments in Chechnya were deeply disturbing and the New Zealand Government needed to show leadership by publicly condemning such violent persecution.
The mainly Muslim region of Chechnya is run by Kadyrov, an authoritarian leader with strong links to Russian President Vladimir Putin and who controls a notorious private army.
Natalia Poplevskaya of the Russian LGBT Network told the BBC this week "we are working to evacuate people" and that victims, either gay or people perceived as gay, are being held in a detention centre near Grozny.
"Torture is going on with electric shocks, beatings with cables. All the people arrested are homosexual men or perceived as being gay," she said.