KOSTA KARAKASHYAN ABOUT TERROR IN CHECHNYA

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALAN BYLAND

New cleansing for the LGBT community is taking place in the Russian Chechen Republic. More than 40 people were detained and at least two were killed as a result of police violence. This is not the first such “purge” conducted by the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The film “Waiting for Color” tells exactly this story – terror, love and unhappiness for the LGBT community in Chechnya. We talk with its director Kosta Karakashyan.

This is a story of repression for Russia, Chechnya, but it is also a story for those who are fighting for their rights and perhaps the simplest thing in the world is to love. Let’s start with the characters – who are you and are you waiting for the colors, as the name of the film “Waiting for the Color” suggests, or vice versa – are you trying to create it?

Of course, the focus is on the personal stories of the victims of this cleansing. Whatever the history of Russia and Chechnya, what people experience on a personal level is terrible.

As a member of the LGBTI community, I follow the struggle for equality not only in Europe, but throughout the world. In many countries, different sexual orientations are still criminalized and cause arrests, torture and death sentences. At the same time, more and more countries are making significant progress in legalizing same-sex marriage and providing protection against discrimination.

I lived in New York for four years, watching a diverse society that supports all nationalities, nationalities, gender, and sexual relationships. In the struggle for true equality, the patience and expectations of society to get used to the various and large campaigns and gestures that give a new tone are of great importance. In this film, I try to express my opinion to those LGBTI people who currently have the greatest need to be heard and saved.

What is being persecuted in Chechnya?

All the stories in the film are literally taken from a report published by the Russian LGBT network in 2017, which inspired me and pushed for the creation of the project. I remember very well the first time I read the stories, and I could not believe how violent this violence was.

It is important to clarify that in this report, 33 people testified anonymously to this day, only the victim of Chechnya, Maxim Lapunov, appeared with his name in the media. Even for those who fled to Germany and the Netherlands, it is still dangerous for them to disclose their names, because of their families in Chechnya and for their own safety.

Just two days ago, a new wave of organized violence was announced: 40 people were tortured and two died. European activist Remi Bonnie shared two testimonies of the victims and now is the time to re-mobilize and support them.

Our position in society should be to spread information about horrific events, because international tension in this situation works and slows down attacks, which gives organizations more opportunities for direct assistance.

And how can you fight in Chechnya and Russia or, like many Russian dissidents, do you see that you have to continue the battle from the other side … almost like exile?

Most of this must be done outside. In a government where the police persecute their citizens, there is no place to support local government. 16 OSCE countries launched a mechanism that calls on the Russian authorities to launch an investigation, but they refused.

It may seem like exile, but first and foremost is the provision of transportation, protection and asylum to refugees from Chechnya……

More and more parties are starting to rely on “traditional” values to remain in power. Putin is also the idol of this authoritarian movement – how do you explain this reaction in society?

This appeal to the most dissatisfied people in society – the poor, the elderly and uneducated. There is a direct connection between the authoritarian movement and simple promises, too simple, if you think about it. When society is unhappy, it seeks a quick exit and is ready to believe in great promises and a return to these traditional values ​​of a golden past. We see it in the States with Trump, in Brazil with Bolsonaroo and Putin in Russia, but with Putin the power is even safer.

One such society becomes apathetic to hatred and discrimination and easily adapts to “others”, be they Roma, Muslims, gays, overloads or refugees. In such a society it is easy to point out something wrong with these groups, while the leader does not improve the quality of life of those who worship him.

When will the “color” finally come to Chechnya?

Unfortunately, I do not believe that there will be any changes. When I was planning a film, I very much doubted how optimistic the ending was, and we finally made very little hope, unlike the most cruel stories at the end of the film.
Color comes to every person when they are provided with security and protection. The color can come to those refugees who are starting a new life with the help of another great organization, LGBT World Beside, which provides them with the first need for a new life.

In Chechnya (and even in Bulgaria), color can appear only when all of us, as a society, demonstrate true continuity and sympathy, and not just hypocritical tolerance. This is one of the main activities of Single Step, a partner organization for placing the film on the Internet and here in Bulgaria, because they work directly with the younger generation and their parents to develop sympathy and understanding between the LGBTI community and the whole country.

Why should we watch a movie and how can everyone help?

We must watch the film to confront the unpleasant reality, which is the first step to change. I urge you to share the movie with your loved ones and online and follow the cause. (Watch the movie online). Each small wave of online support helps voice and make direct donations … … In addition, they help these Chechens to start a new life without harassment and violence – a life everyone deserves.

Copyright www.terminal3.bg

France introduces national LGBTI anti-bullying campaign in all schools.

Paris same-sex kiss-in, 2010. | Photo: Philippe Leroyer / Flickr

France introduced a national campaign in the fight to eradicate anti-LGBTI incidents in middle and high schools across the country.

Starting today (28 January), France’s Ministry of National Education and Youth launched All Equal, All Allies. It’s a campaign that ensures all state schools put up anti-bullying posters, as well as provide accompanying guides about LGBTI students for teachers.

SOS Homophobia spearheaded the campaign, which aims to make LGBTI youth in France feel more included at school.

They found an increase of reports of anti-LGBTI incidents by 38% in the last year.

Their recent report also said this causes decreased self-esteem, isolation and dropping out of school. The risk of suicide attempts remains four times higher for LGBTI youth than for the rest of the population.

They wrote in a press release: ‘SOS homophobia hopes that all institutions, public and private, will open their doors to this campaign so that it can reach a maximum of students and complete the work of prevention and awareness provided by SOS volunteers.’

In November last year, a French LGBTI activist group warned of an increase in anti-gay attacks across the country.

Across France, complaints of homophobic attacks increased by 15% since the beginning of 2018.

A number of French LGBTI rights activists also believe that the number of people to experience homophobic attacks or abuse is widely underreported.

‘This is just the tip of the iceberg,’ said the spokesperson for rights group Inter-LGBT, Clémence Zamora-Cruz.

‘On the ground, many attacks go unreported. Often, victims don’t complain for fear of reprisals, or because they’re afraid of speaking to police officers who aren’t aware of issues relating to LGBT identity.

He then added: ‘They’re scared of not being listened to.’

Last month, a handful of French artists got together to release a song to help tackle homophobia.

De l’Amour tells the story of gay refugee Azamat, with all proceeds raised going to French charity Urgence Homophobie (Emergency Homophobia).

Among the artists volunteering to sing on the track and appear in an evocative video were Emmanuel Moire, Christophe Willem and Muriel Robin.

Copyright www.gaystarnews.com

Action in memory of LGBT victims in Chechnya.

The rally in memory of LGBT victims in Chechnya was held in Amsterdam (Netherlands) on the Homomonument on January 20, 2019.

LGBT World Beside is an organization founded by refugees who survived the “first wave” of LGBT persecution in Chechnya. We and our friends and relatives who remained in Russia are living witnesses of how the Chechen authorities tried purposely violate us.

Now that a new wave of persecution has begun in Chechnya, we are again afraid for ourselves and for the safety of our loved ones,there. We demand from the Russian authorities to end up persecution and physical violence against LGBT in Chechnya and effectively investigate all crimes of the past weeks.

We also appeal to the world community, to the authorities of democratic states that have signed the World Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Status of Refugees, not to refuse assistance to LGBT refugees from Chechnya, who literally have to choose between life and death.

Two rapporteurs condemn the latest alleged murder, torture and illegal detention of LGBTI persons in Chechnya

Frank Schwabe (SOC, Germany), rapporteur on the continuing need to restore human rights and the rule of law in the North Caucasus region, and Piet De Bruyn (NR, Belgium), General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBTI people and former rapporteur on persecution of LGBTI people in the Chechen Republic (Russian Federation), today condemned the recent alleged attacks on the LGBTI community in Chechnya, during which two people were reportedly tortured to death and around forty detained by the authorities.

“Since the first such allegations came to light in 2017, the Assembly has called on the authorities to investigate the persecution of LGBTI people in the Chechen Republic, bring to justice those responsible and ensure the safety of victims,” said Mr De Bruyn. “As stated in Resolution 2230 (2018), the Assembly condemns in the strongest terms all forms of persecution, hate speech, discrimination and harassment, on any grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity,” he underlined.

“These latest outrages underline the Chechen authorities’ contempt for even the most basic human rights and illustrate the barbaric lawlessness of their rule,” added Mr Schwabe. “The Russian federal authorities must take immediate, effective action to meet their constitutional and international obligations to secure the right to life, the prohibition on torture, the right to liberty and security and the right to an effective remedy, without discrimination on any ground, throughout the national territory. They must put an end to the impunity of the Kadyrov regime,” he concluded.

Copyright www.assembly.coe.int