Yes Duplicity: Irish State, Give Queer Chechens Asylum Now


Will the Irish state offer asylum to queer men in Chechnya (and, in fact, all queer people there) who are enduring a state-lead campaign of terror and persecution of the gravest nature, or are queer people's lives another vote-catcher?

We described both what is happening in Chechnya and the Dublin counter-demo in detail here, as well as warning against these atrocities being seized upon for an anti-Muslim agenda.

Just yesterday, during a May Day demonstration in St. Petersburg (the 2nd largest Russian city) queers protesting the Chechen crackdown were dragged into riot vans by police, simply for holding the protest.

While it is to be welcomed that 'The Minister [for Foreign Affairs] is calling on the Russian Government to urgently undertake a thorough investigation into the reports of the abduction and killing of gay men in Chechnya, to reject the cynical statement of local Chechen officials justifying violence against and the murder of gay men and to make it clear that it does not condone such statements. It is also incumbent on the Russian Government to take the necessary steps to protect those fleeing persecution in Chechnya, as well as those civil society activists who are offering assistance to them' clearly the Russian government has no interest in either acknowledging the violence, let alone condemning it or helping those targetted to escape to safety. This is not unlike sending a strongly worded letter to Hitler and asking for his government to investigate themselves and take steps to protect those fleeing Nazi Germany.

On May 22nd, 2015, Ireland passed marriage equality by popular vote with the nominal support of all major political parties. Enda Kenny, Fine Gael TD, then and current taoiseach proclaimed:
'Would a majority of people, in this our Republic, stand with them and stand up for them so that they can live in our shelter and no longer in our shadow? ... The referendum was about inclusiveness and equality, about love and commitment being enshrined in the constitution ... That yes is heard loudly across the living world as a sound of pioneering leadership of our people and hopefully across the generations of gay men and women born as we say, before their time.'

Micheál Martin, leader of Fianna Fáil, the second largest party, intimated:
'I think this vote reflects at the heart of Irish society there is a fundamental core of decency and tolerance and a sense of bringing people in from the cold and furthering inclusion'.

Katherine Zappone, now minister for children and youth affairs, and Leo Varadkar, minister for social protection, were lauded for advocating a 'Yes' vote while drawing upon their personal lives as lesbian and gay respectively.

There are some reports that head of the Chechen state, Ramzan Kadyrov, has planned to wipe out all queer men or queer people entirely by the beginning of Ramadan on May 26th.

Will the Irish state commit to bringing them 'in from the cold', 'no longer in [the] shadow' of the Chechen state? And then, does that mean banishing them to the margins of our society through the Direct Provision system?

The fact that this question must be asked points to how our global system of dividing the planet into nation states acts as a prison. All people should be free to roam the Earth, not least those in peril.