This letter concerns the ongoing anti-gay pogrom in Chechyna, and was sent via WriteToThem.
Dear Cat Smith,
By now, you have probably heard of the news coming out of Chechyna, where the government is rounding up gay men and putting them into concentration camps. At least a hundred men have been rounded up so far, and many of those who have escaped the pogrom have now become refugees in their own country. Within these camps there are allegations of horrendous living conditions, torture, and summary execution. Both the Chechen government and the Kremlin deny the allegations, but that is of little surprise.
Today, I urge you to use your public voice to demand that the Russian government take the situation in Chechnya seriously, and to raise this issue of anti-gay violence in whatever capacity you can. This starts with demanding that Theresa May make a public comment on the fledgling genocide and reaffirm her commitment to treating all LGBT asylum seekers with the respect they deserve. May must make her position to the British people absolutely clear on this issue.
As a Labour MP, I also urge you to get in touch with Jeremy Corbyn so that he can make his voice heard on the issue, and to provide us with more details about his plans to reform the LGBT asylum seeking process in the UK.
Cat Smith, Labour MP: Replied same day.
Thank you for your email sent on 11th April regarding the persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya.
I was horrified to hear the reports coming out of Chechnya. Sadly this is an all too familiar story in many parts of the world. I agree the United Kingdom should be making an unequivocal statement condemning this abhorrent persecution and reiterating our commitment towards equality and eradicating homophobia. I also agree a fair and humane policy towards LGBT asylum seekers must be central to this.
I will write to the Foreign Secretary putting your points to him and request that he respond to them. I will also keep your comments in mind in discussions which I have with Shadow Cabinet colleagues on this matter.
I will write to you again once I have received a reply from the Foreign Office however in the meantime if you feel I can be of any further assistance on this or any other matter please do not hesitate to get in touch.