In response to the demand of 15 OSCE countries that the Russian Federation answer questions about its internal investigation of human rights abuses committed last year in Chechnya, including the mass detention and torture of LGBT people and several attacks against human rights defenders, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The decision of these 15 countries, including the United States, marks a first, important step toward holding accountable the perpetrators of these crimes in Chechnya,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “We urge the Russian Federation to fully answer these questions about systematic human rights violations, and we call on the international community to ensure that an independent international investigation is undertaken to provide justice to the victims of these heinous crimes. In 2017, hundreds of men identified as being gay were kidnapped by Chechen authorities, tortured, and some were killed. At least 120 were forced to flee and remain in hiding, fearing for their lives. More than a year after these events, the victims are still awaiting any investigation by the state.”

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2018, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2017, and receives a democracy score of 6.61 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2018.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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