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17    Foreign Affairs— Chechnya—Treatment of LGBTI persons

Senator Smith, also on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Wong), pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 347—That the Senate—

               (a)       notes the concern expressed by the Australian Government at reports of mass arrests and torture of individuals in the Republic of Chechnya in the Russian Federation due to their perceived or actual sexual orientation;

               (b)       welcomes that these concerns have been raised by the Australian Government on six separate occasions directly with the Russian Government;

                (c)       calls on the Government to:

                                     (i)       work with other nations to highlight the deplorable treatment of LGBTI persons in Chechnya through the United Nations (UN) and other international human rights forums,

                                    (ii)       publicly back the UN’s Free and Equal Campaign, a global public education campaign which raises awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and promotes greater respect for the rights of LGBTI people globally, and

                                  (iii)       raise awareness of Smart Traveller advice on Chechnya and the Russian Federation in light of these reports; and

               (d)       notes that Australia has joined with Albania, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America and Uruguay in endorsing the Equal Rights Coalition Statement of 26 April 2017, which states:

The undersigned Equal Rights Coalition members urgently call on Russian federal authorities to conduct an independent and credible investigation into reports of arbitrary detention, torture and killing of gay men by security services and other government authorities in the Republic of Chechnya. If these reports prove credible, we call on the Russian government to take steps to ensure the release of anyone wrongfully detained and hold accountable anyone found responsible. These steps are in-line with international human rights obligations and commitments made by the Russian government to respect the human rights of all individuals.

Statement by leave : Senator Rice, by leave, made a statement relating to the motion.

Question put and passed.