As more than a hundred people have been arrested and tortured in the Russian republic under the leadership of the head of state supported by Vladimir Putin, Ramzan Kadyrov, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) yesterday decided to urge the EU’s diplomatic services in order to raise awareness and speak up against the detention, torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya.
After having submitted an oral question to the European Commission, MEPs yesterday discussed the issue just one day ahead of today’s International Day Against Homophobia. Though probably a bit delayed, the parliamentary question was supported by MEPs from the Greens, S&D, ALDE, ECR and GUE/NGL groups. The Green Vice-President of the European Parliament, Ulrike Lunacek called on her colleagues to back a resolution demanding that the Russian Federation put an end to these practices. “Being homosexual or trans is something that has always existed, everywhere, it has nothing to do with religion. So we ask our European diplomats to defend those who defend the rights of homosexuals” she said. "We're seen and respected as the continent on this planet that has achieved most and against not so easy situations: we've had very Catholic, very conservative governments in the past and still do. But we're seen as really having achieved a lot and the Parliament is the most outspoken part of that," she added.
To raise awareness on the issue, on International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), ILGA-Europe worked to put the 2017 Rainbow Europe package together, which includes not only a ranking but also several observations about the current legal and policy landscape in Europe. According to their analysis, progress has been made – but it’s slowing down and is at risk, Europe needs more political courage to protect it, and this in new forms and in new places. The new Rainbow Map, Index and Annual Review highlights the advances that have been made across 49 European countries in terms of law and policy over the past 12 months and – for the first time this year – it offers targeted recommendations on how to improve the lived experience of LGBTI people in the year to come. The top country in 2017 report is the one that currently holds the EU presidency, Malta.
To show the Commission's support for diversity and for LGBTI equality, this year the European Commission's Berlaymont building and the headquarters of the European External Action Service have been lit up in the colors of the rainbow flag yesterday night. We as Greens, welcome this symbolic move, but much more still needs to be done inside and outside of the European Union in order to introduce and respect proper progressive standards and get a proper legal and social change.
We will persist in advocating for zero compromises when it comes to human rights, and to struggle in order to mainstream LGBTIQ rights while at the same time working on International Solidarity. This is why we urge Russian and Chechen authorities to put an end to the abduction, torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya!