For twenty years, June 26 has marked International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Despite being outlawed in most countries, torture, unfortunately, is still widespread. Of particular concern is evidence of the use of torture against detainees, prisoners, and arrestees in secret prisons, where unfettered power is held by armed men.
In Europe today, people are still being tortured in such secret prisons. For more than 20 years, human rights groups have been documenting cases of torture in Chechnya, and in recent years, the problem of torture has been just as pressing in eastern Ukraine, in the unrecognized Lugansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic.
Among the victims of torture and extrajudicial arrest who have been placed in secret torture facilities are members of sexual minorities, targeted for no reason other than their sexual orientation and gender identity. The Memorial Anti-Discrimination Centre and the Center for Civil Liberties have studied the problem of homophobia in parts of Ukraine that are not under government control. In 2017, it was learned that gays in Chechnya were being arrested and tortured on a large scale. In response to clear evidence of violations of LGBT rights in Chechnya and regions of Donbas not under government control, ADC Memorial, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and the Center for Civil Liberties have launched a solidarity campaign with the hashtag #StopLGBTpersecution in Chechnya and Donbas.
In recognition of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, a booklet has been published featuring expressions of solidarity by well-known people from a number of countries with the victims of harassment and persecution.
When there is no effective means of communicating with those in power where discrimination and torture reign, it is especially important to draw the world’s attention to this problem in order to achieve an end to torture, persecution, and murder.
On the photo: In June 2017, the mayor of the 11th district of Paris initiated placing the symbol of the campaign in support of LGBT in Chechnya and Donbas on the local city-hall building