Friday 17th May was the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). The Australian official IDAHOBIT organisation explains that the international awareness day started in May 17, 1990. After the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization approved the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD 10), homosexuality was no longer listed as a disorder. The IDAHOBIT was later officially launched in 2004 to celebrate LGBTIQ people globally. The IDAHOBIT is now celebrated every year to champion inclusion, and build a better world for the LGBTIQ community.
For this year’s IDAHOBIT, Amnesty, Stonewall and the Russian LGBT organisation, RainbowRu, focused on the scandal of the LGBTQ community in Chechnya who have been targeted, abused and tortured by the Chechen authorities. These organisation gathered in front of the Russian Embassy in London and handed a petition to show the Russians authorities that they are accountable for the abuses in Chechnya. LGBTQ defenders used the importunity to lay the new Pride flag on the steps, followed with a few short speeches from each of the organisations involved.
Ellie Kennedy, Amnesty International UK member, gave us background information to understand the ongoing atrocities against LGBTQ people in Chechnya:
“In December 2018, the Chechen authorities unleashed a new wave of attacks on people believed to be gay or lesbian. At least 40 individuals were arbitrarily detained and tortured in a government building, based on their alleged sexual orientation. At least two people are reported to have been tortured to death.
“This builds on a previous attack in Chechnya in April 2017 when up to 100 men suspected of being gay were abducted as part of a coordinated government campaign. These men were also tortured and at least three were reported to have been killed.
“Russia – as the de facto state authority – has refused to speak out, cooperate or respond to calls for an investigation. So far, no genuine official investigation has taken place into either situation, and not a single person has been held to account for any of the atrocities committed.
“Amnesty sections around the world have been running petitions targeting the Russian government for this new wave of attacks. At AIUK we have secured nearly 70,000 signatures since January and we’re coordinating our petition hand-in on IDAHOBIT to increase our opportunities to create international pressure.
“The International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexsim and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is an annual opportunity to raise awareness and speak out against the many phobias towards the LGBTI community that sadly remain all too prevalent across the world. It’s a day on which to offer solidarity and visibility to communities and people facing discrimination and abuse whilst also celebrating the considerable progress that has been made in securing equality for LGBTI people everywhere.”
For this year’s IDAHOBIT , organisations have chosen the theme of Justice in order to defend LGBTQ communities and represent those who suffered and are still suffering from human rights violations and abuse in Chechnya. Amnesty’s main goal was to demand that the Russian government bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.