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Chechnya Accused of Gay “Concentration Camps”

LGBTQ activists lead the resistance against state leaders

Sarely Perez, Contributor

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It has been reported by LGBTQ activists and the Novaya Gazeta newspaper that “more than 100 men” in Chechnya have been confirmed to be detained and held in gay “concentration camps.” These reports come after several men were reported missing by family members.

LGBTQ activists and Nova Gazeta revealed that authorities of Russia’s Chechnya have been conducting massive detention raids in the Muslim-majority region of men whom they suspect of being gay. Several sources have confirmed that officials from top law enforcement agencies like the Federal Security Services have been involved in these massive detentions.

According to the Nova Gazeta newspaper, once the men have been detained they are taken to a secret place where they are tortured, killed, or exiled from the Russian province. The Russian government stepped forward and denied the allegations that the independent newspaper released. A representative for Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov said, “You can’t detain and repress people who simply don’t exist in the republic.”

Students at Cal State LA have reacted to this news as well. Alejandra Ferrer a Psychology major said, “I can’t believe that in 2017 these horrific acts are still happening. You would think that by now other countries have learned the pain and emotional scars “concentration camps” have left in the world.

Russian coordinator and activists with the Russian LGBTQ Networks, Natalia Poplevskaia, has stated that the increase in phone calls to the network has been dramatic since the news was released. Most of these calls are from people who are scared to end up in these concentration camps. “Most of the calls are from residents or former residents of Chechnya who have already been evacuated through their channels”, said Poplevskaia.

Several students here at Cal State LA are shocked after hearing such news and others were not even aware that this was going on. Jackie Lopez an undergraduate sociology major said, “It’s unfortunate that people cannot be themselves without fearing for their lives.”

Eric Rodriguez, an undergraduate arts and letters student, said “Honestly I did not know about this. I am very surprised that in the 21st century we are even talking about concentration camps. People should be allowed to love whoever they want without being scared.”

Students like Judith Serrano believe that these type of violent actions just spread more hatred and “send the wrong message to those who are against same-sex love.” It’s horrible what’s going on”, said Serrano. “People need to be more tolerant of one another. You don’t have to approve of same-sex love, but you cannot be physically harming anyone for being who they are.”

Since the news broke out, Russian emergency hotlines have reported that they have been receiving more calls than the usual asking for help because they believe to be a target to the authorities. LGBTQ activists from around the world have taken to the streets to protest against the gay concentration camps.

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Chechnya Accused of Gay “Concentration Camps”