As most of us probably don't know too many details about Chechnya, let's start with this: Chechnya is a Republic of Russia. Even though the demographic information isn't really updated, the Chechen republic is known to have about 1.3 million people.

The republic has its own constitution, adopted in 2003. Even if Russia itself is not very oriented to concepts like human rights and freedom of speech and expression, Chechnya is considered one of the most repressive societies in the world. Therefore, if you ever thought that living in Russia must be harsh for certain individuals, remember that it could be much worse.

Their laws and culture haven't changed too much over the years and it was only recently that some organizations started to actually shed some light on the constant abuses in the region.

The majority religion in the area is Islam and the Chechens are known to be some of the most radical Muslims in the world. Unfortunately, their evolution as a society was slowed down by civil wars and multiple acts of violence and terrorism.

Abuses and discrimination made public

As a consequence of violent incidents in the past, we can now observe the lack of tolerance of the Chechens. The most powerful example of their repressive actions is the torture that homosexual men (or the ones that are considered to be homosexual) have to endure.

The details regarding these atrocities were made public at the beginning of this year by an independent Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta. They reported that more than 100 men were abducted, beaten, tortured and, some of them, even murdered.

The Human Rights Watch managed to get in touch with some of the victims that escaped from the "concentration camp" for homosexual men and one of them declared the following: “The [police] spit in our faces, they called us disgusting, offensive names, they forced us into humiliating poses…When they finally released me, I was close to hanging myself.

I cannot live with this, I just can’t”.

At least three corpses were found beaten to death in the area and the murders seem to be linked to this aggressive anti-gay campaign. Also, the Chechen law states that a sexual relation between persons of the same sex is a death-punishable offense. Their leaders and culture still encourage the honor killing, so even if the abused men survive the tortures and the authorities set them free, they might be killed by their own families for bringing such an unacceptable shame to them.

The most worrying fact is that, even if he denies the abuses, the leader of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, refuses to acknowledge that homosexual inhabitants exist among his people: “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” Kadyrov spokesman Alvi Karimov declared. “If there were such people in Chechnya, the law enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”

How the world reacts

The members of LGBT community in Russia and all over the world are shocked and outraged and, with the support of Human Rights organizations, are trying to assist and evacuate the targeted men.

In recent days, international leaders have expressed profound concern about the anti-gay campaign and called on Moscow to intervene.

The Kremlin opened a federal investigation into the allegations and Vladimir Putin discussed the situation with Kadyrov. However, in order to end the anti-gay purge in Chechnya, global leaders must sustain this pressure and stand against the abuses of the Human Rights.