RuPaul, Rita Ora and Lena Dunham among celebrities to back Chechnya campaign
Scores of celebrities, actors and TV stars have backed a new campaign to end the “gay purge” in Chechnya.
Revelations first published earlier this year show more than 100 people have been detained, tortured, and, in at least 26 cases, killed in the Russian republic.
Now, a new campaign by MTV hopes to keep up the volume of scrutiny on the abuses and “raise the volume on the public outcry, and let the world know we have our #EyesOnChechnya”.
Several high profile names have already added their backing to the campaign, with RuPaul, Rita Ora and Lena Dunham all lending support on Twitter.
Nev Schulman, host of Catfish, has also publicly endorsed the calls for action, along with Matilda actress and author Mara Wilson.
For over 100 days, we’ve known about gay and bi men being targeted in Chechnya. Will you speak out? https://t.co/5ztKiKKsH5 #EyesOnChechnya pic.twitter.com/y200uY9d2j
— MTV (@MTV) July 12, 2017
Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta broke the news of the atrocities back in April, adding that men are being held in secret concentration camp-style prisons where they face torture and abuse.
One man who was released from the camp also told the newspaper that he was subjected to violent “interrogations”, as Chechen officials attempted to get him to confess the names and locations of more gay men.
In a chilling response, a Chechen government spokesperson denied that there are any gay people to detain, insisting that “you can’t detain and harass someone who doesn’t exist in the republic”. The Kremlin denied any knowledge of a purge.
While the region is part of Russia, it has a large amount of autonomy in the way it is run.
The journalist who broke the story, Elena Milashina, also later revealed that she has been forced into hiding in the wake of the revelations.
Over 100 days we’ve known about gays targeted in Chechnya, and the @whitehouse remains silent. #EyesOnChechnya https://t.co/VVHkEyNefF pic.twitter.com/SANdHwFIZh
— RuPaul (@RuPaul) July 16, 2017
Several of those backing the new campaign have also directed strong words towards the Whitehouse, urging President Donald Trump to take action on the allegations.
“Over 100 days we’ve known about gays targeted in Chechnya,” wrote Ru Paul. “The White House remains silent.”
Dozens of politicians have also urged the former business owner to end his silence on the atrocities, though he is yet to issue a statement.
Fifty three members of congress penned a letter to the President earlier this week, stating that “the lives of hundreds of Chechens are at stake.”
They added: “We urge you to assign to the appropriate agencies in your Administration, and work with our allies, to help find a safe refuge for the Chechens who have managed to escape this horrifying situation.”
European leaders Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have both raised the issue publicly during meetings with Vladimir Putin, and the UK government has also expressed concerns