The board and staff of Samtökin ‘78 wish to thank everyone who participated in our week of action because of the horrible events in Chechnya. Both those who stood vigil, who came to the protest on Friday or who participated in another way. The protest was very effective and caught a lot of attention, including the news media. For those who were not able to participate the speech of María Helga Guðmundsdóttir, president of Samtökin ‘78, can be found here. More pictures from the protest can be found here.
Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, secretary of foreign affairs in the Icelandic government, has taken this issue seriously and an interview with him about it can be seen here. We want to encourage the secretary and Alþingi to keep this conversation going and to demand that the russian authorities conduct an impartial investigation on this persecution of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, and that those responsible will be held accountable.
The president of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, has also shown interest in this issue and has met with María Helga the president of Samtökin and Kitty Anderson, international secretariat to Samtökin ‘78.
International pressure works – that is what history shows us. Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, has agreed to look into the matter. However, that is not enough and it is important to keep pressure on the matter. We want to encourage everyone who is able to do what they can: for example by signing a petition or by donating to organisations that are helping survivors of the persecution in Chechnya. That can be done here. In addition, the Russian embassy can be contacted directly. For example by printing out and signing this letter and mailing it to them.
We thank you for the support. The struggle continues!