Thursday, 13 April 2017

Chechnya: My petition to the UK government

As you will have probably seen, this week news emerged that a concentration camp for gay men has quite possibly been opened in Chechnya.

Add this to the previously reported instances of gay men being killed, and LGBT's subjected to persecution, and what you have is a pretty desperate situation in need of IMMEDIATE action.

Rightly so, people are outraged by the plight of men, women and children in Syria, but I feel this ugly situation in Chechnya just isn't getting as much, if anything, in the way of attention.

Yesterday British broadcaster Sky News posted out in excess of 15 tweets about US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson having talks with Russia, but NOTHING about Chechnya. That was despite a mass demonstration occurring outside the Russian embassy in London last night.

On Monday I decided I would start a petition on the Parliamentary website. This website is used to urge the government to take action on certain issues. For example a recent petition asking the British government to think again, on whether to grant US President Donald Trump a state visit, attracted in excess of 2 million signatures.

The way the Parliament petition website works, is that once a petition reaches 10,000 signatures you get a response from the British government. Then if the petition reaches 100,000 signatures it gets debated in Parliament. I could just start a petition on any old website, the reason I want it on the Parliament petition site, is because the government are obligated to respond. If I start a petition elsewhere, they have no obligation what so ever.

This is what the Chechnya situation needs! Visibility and lots of it! 

If we show our outrage this week, but forget it next week, so will certain elements of the media and politicians, who would probably prefer not to have to respond, or god forbid commit to actually doing something about this!

My petition was submitted on Monday evening, and nearly 72 hours later it still is not published.

All petitions have to go through a quality control check, to make sure the petition is legit, and make sure a duplicate petition does not exist, and with it being the eve of a four day bank holiday weekend, I think getting it published before the start of next week is highly unlikely.

Currently my petition is pending review as you can see - HERE

A source at Westminster has told me the department which deals with the petitions are experiencing high volumes of submission, so it might not get published until next week sometime.

So over the next few days my task is to keep up the pressure when it comes to Chechnya and if you're reading this, that means I need your help as well!

We cannot let the outrage over this die down, we must keep it alive and continue taking to social media. Ideally when the petition goes live we need to get this trending. But for now the main aim should be to keep talking about it, keep sharing about it. LGBT's in Chechnya need us and we cannot let them down.

My petition calls on the British government to take action! Theresa May, Boris Johnson, it is your moral obligation, not just elected representatives, but as human beings.

-Sam

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