There will be a large and independent international investigation into the human rights violations in Chechnya and includes the persecution of homosexuals in this Russian Republic. The investigation was announced by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) early November.
Sixteen OSCE countries, including the Netherlands, set in motion the so-called Moscow mechanism. This refers to a provision in an OSCE human rights treaty that was signed in 1991 in Moscow. With this mechanism, the OSCE can give a group of independent human rights experts the order to investigate human rights violations in an OSCE Member State. It is one of the heaviest set of measures that can be implemented by the OSCE and is rarely used.
The OSCE takes this far-reaching decision because the Russia Federation has systematically refused to cooperate with investigations into human rights violations in the Republic of Chechnya for the past 18 months. This include the persecution of gay men in 2017.
In April 2017, it was announced that in Chechnya at least a hundred supposedly homosexuals were arrested, tortured and sent to prison camps without reason. Three of them supposedly lost their lives.
With Amnesty International and activists, the COC organized a large demonstration against this persecution on the Amsterdam Homomonument - see picture - and handed over 45 thousand signatures to the Russian embassy. One of their demands was an independent investigation into the persecution.
Together with other human rights organizations the COC has worked hard to achieve this result. It is the first independent international investigation into murders, human rights violations and gay persecution in Chechnya.
The 16 OSCE member states that are behind this investigation are: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Iceland, and Sweden.
* The OSCE is an intergovernmental organization of 57 countries in Europe, Central Asia and North America. Since 1973, it has been engaged in cooperation in the fields of defence, economy and human rights. Internationally, the organization is referred to as OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).