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SOS Homophobie
Protesters challenging Putin over the detainment, torture and murder of gay and bisexual men in Chechnyavia Twitter (@NiWalch)

France takes in the first gay Chechen refugee

French president Emmanuel Macron has called on Putin to protect LGBT people subjected to detainment, torture and murder in the region

France has begun taking in gay refugees from Chechnya, the Russian region where over a hundred gay and bisexual men have been detained and subjected to torture and murder.

According to the president of LGBT organisation SOS Homophobie Joël Deumier, “The first gay Chechen refugee arrived on French land.” He told FranceInfo: “So France has started to welcome Chechen refugees. This is going to continue.”

As LGBTQNation reports, SOS Homophobie has been helping with refugee applications, providing testimony for the first refugee to prove he had been oppressed because of his sexuality.

Recent news on the concentration camp holding the men says that the prisoners have been relocated. Human Rights Watch also recently reported that Magomed Daudov, the speaker for the Chechen parliament, was present and participated in the detainment and torture of prisoners.

It was in April that Novaya Gazeta, a Russian publication, first broke the news of the detention centres. One of the leading journalists in the investigation spoke to Dazed at the time about how she had to go into hiding. Meanwhile, the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied even the existence of LGBT people in the region. 

Vladimir Putin claims to have called for an investigation into the horrors, however, Deumier of SOS Homophobie said: “Mr. Putin has said that he has started an investigation, that it is not true, that there is no violence or murder of gay people. That’s completely false. We have concrete proof. We can no longer accept this discourse of denial from Russia against gay people.”

Deumier added that the Chechen refugee arrives in France as Putin met for the first time with president Emmanuel Macron.

“I had the chance to bring up how important it is for France to respect all people, all minorities and all sensibilities in a civil society,” Macron told press, with Putin by his side, as the Independent reports.

He added that Putin said he would engage in “very regular monitoring” of the threat against LGBT people in the region.

Protesters outside the meeting of Putin and Macron in Versailles and Paris gathered to challenge the Russian leader and the rampant, deadly homophobia playing out in Russia.

News recently emerged that the United States has denied the visas for around 40 Chechens. Scores of people are in hiding throughout Russia: a spokesperson for the Russian LGBT Network, Sveltlana Zakharova, confirmed the news to BuzzfeedWhile the UK, Germany and the Netherlands appealed to Russia to address what’s been going on, there’s no word yet on these countries officially providing safety.