Five Chechen homosexuals have obtained humanitarian visas from Belgium, Sudpresse and De Morgen reported on Friday. “This makes Belgium one of the first countries to have really done something concrete on this issue,” said Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken, recalling that it “became evident” a year ago that the LGBT community “was being illtreated and some of its members murdered” in Chechnya.
“The granting of the visas, based on scrupulously screened files, was done in consultation with Foreign Minister Didier Reynders through our embassy in Moscow,” Francken explained.
The Secretary of State said he had had contacts with organizations that have been actively working with homosexuals in Chechnya and “spoken with many victims”. “I listened to their stories of intimidation, incarceration, torture for days and days, and rejection by the Chechen community.”