Despite global allegations and proof, Chechnya keeps claiming that they do not actually have concentration camps for LGBTQ people.
Vice news went behind the scenes to get the scoop about these injustices. According to New Now Next, the alleged site of the camp, a military based called Argun, was abandoned and buried in debris, but the film crew got permission to go inside and look around.
The crew from Vice was heavily guarded by military while they looked around the site.
“Imagine if there are gays. Would we, the Chechens, communicate with them at all?” Ayub Kataev, the prison warden, asked the investigating team. “My officers would not even want to touch such people—if they exist—let alone beating or torturing them.”
This is similar to the public statements Chechnya have been putting out since this backlash began. They claim that queer people do not even exist within their country, and if they did they would be completely ignored as untouchables, not beaten, murdered, or detained. However, human rights watch groups and LGBTQ activists in Russia are constantly getting contacted by queer-identifying individuals who fear for their lives.
“Chechnya is a specific region and human rights don’t exist there,” Svetlana Zaharava, who works for the Russian LGBT Network, told New Now Next. “It’s almost impossible to be an open LGBT person in Chechnya; that is why people are so stigmatized, and why the gay victims’ parents wouldn’t cooperate with law enforcement [in investigating the disappearances]. It’s because they’re ashamed.”
Only by continually bringing light to this situation can reporters and activists have a global impact and stop this tragedy.