Bärbel Kofler, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (24 April) on reports regarding persecution of LGBTI persons in Russia:
I take reports regarding persecution of LGBTI persons in the autonomous Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation very seriously. The reports shine a light on an intolerable situation. What is more, these individuals can apparently also not escape persecution by going to other parts of Russia.
I support the demand that has been made by Gernot Erler, the Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries. He has called on the Russian government to investigate these reports and to immediately provide the individuals concerned with the support they need.
The statements that have been issued by the Russian side so far do not suggest that this matter is being followed up on with the dedication it deserves. I regret this all the more because the human rights situation throughout the Russian Federation has deteriorated. This has particularly affected minorities, which include LGBTI persons.
What is also intolerable is that those who report on human rights violations are themselves targeted. In Russia, time and again journalists are attacked and killed. The journalist Elena Milashina, a reporter for Novaya Gazeta who has covered the persecution of LGBTI persons in Chechnya, is currently in hiding at an undisclosed location.