The organisation’s president, Joël Deumier, confirmed that it’s the start of a longer process to get LGBT+ people from the region to safety.

“The first gay Chechen refugee arrived on French land,” Joël Deumier told FranceInfo. “So France has started to welcome Chechen refugees. This is going to continue.”

Last week, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazetta reported that up to 26 men have been killed so far this year as part of the anti-gay purge in Chechnya.

The Kremlin and Chechen government have both repeatedly denied allegations that gay men are being detained and tortured in the region.

That’s despite Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov, having publicly declared that he wanted all LGBT+ people in the country to be eliminated by May 26, which marked the start of Muslim holiday, Ramadan.

“Mr. Putin has said that he has started an investigation, that it is not true, that there is no violence or murder of gay people,” Joël Deumier added.

“That’s completely false. We have concrete proof. We can no longer accept this discourse of denial from Russia against gay people.”

France’s decision to welcome its first gay Chechen refugee came on the same day as Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit to Versailles to meet the newly-elected French leader Emmanuel Macron.

Macron took the opportunity at a public press conference with Putin to confirm that they had spoken about the ongoing abuse in Chechnya, according to the New York Times.

The French premier announced that they had agreed on a “very regular monitoring” of events in the region.

Macron also revealed that Putin has taken measures to “establish the complete truth on the activities of local authorities” in Chechnya.

“As for me, I will be constantly vigilant on these issues, which are in keeping with our values,” he added.

Despite Putin standing next to Macron during these statements and not disputing them in any way, the Russian leader still did not mention gay people during the news conference.

 

This article was originally published on Gay Times. Read the original article.