I share the public’s deep concern and I am alarmed by the reported violations of human rights in Chechnya. My SNP colleagues and I fully endorse Amnesty International’s call to action to protect those at risk in the region. The international community has a responsibility to raise concerns about human rights violations with Russia at the highest level.
I believe that more generally, we require a way to ensure that in our interactions with other countries, we have particular attention to their treatment of human rights and specifically LGBT+ rights. Indeed, the SNP manifesto called on the UK Government to establish the position of a special envoy to promote the rights of LGBT+ people around the world as an integral part of UK foreign policy.
My SNP colleague in Westminster, Hannah Bardell MP, spoke on this issue in the House of Commons last week (20th April). She emphasised that we must use our voices to condemn this horrific brutality, and called on the UK Government Minister of State to act on the proposal for a special envoy and put as much pressure as possible on Chechnya and Russia to put an end to these abuses. Despite the forthcoming General Election, I hope that the UK Government will pursue this matter assiduously in their relations with Russia.