Open Letter Calls on Oil Companies to Stand Up for Persecuted Gay Men In Chechnya

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Mr. John S. Watson
CEO, Chevron Corporation
6001 Bollinger Canyon Road
San Ramon, CA 94583, USA

Mr. Ben van Beurden
CEO, Royal Dutch Shell
PO box 162, 2501 AN
The Hague, The Netherlands

Mr. Bob Dudley
CEO, British Petroleum
International Headquarters
1 St James's Square
London, SW1Y 4PD

Mr. Darren Woods
CEO, Exxon Mobil
5959 Las Colinas Boulevard
Irving, Texas 75039-2298

14 April 2017

To Mr. John S. Watson, Mr. Ben van Beurden, Mr. Bob Dudley, and Mr. Darren Woods,

As you may have read hundreds of men who are gay or perceived to be gay are being captured, detained, tortured, and murdered in what has been referred to as concentration camps in Chechnya. This homophobic campaign is among the worst the world has ever heard of. In spite of multiple governments and world leaders speaking out, the detentions have not stopped. While multiple independent sources have confirmed the existence of unofficial prisons, Chechen authorities continue to deny these allegations and Putin continues to ignore these serious crimes.

As large scale investors in Russia, with close ties to Russian authorities, your companies have the ability to command attention from Putin and the Kremlin to ask for the cessation of the arbitrary arrests and detention of innocent men and to call for the release of those who are being unjustly held in captivity.

Your companies have stood publicly against discrimination and for the equality and inclusion of LGBTIQ people. You have policies in place that protect against harassment and discrimination, you value your LGBTIQ talent, and support LGBT employement groups.

  • At Shell you claim, to “strive to be a pioneer of LGBT inclusion in the workplace,” are a part of Workplace Pride, and fly the rainbow flag during pride celebrations.
  • At BP you proudly assert that you are the “highest-ranking energy company in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index,” and members of the BP Pride Group proudly lead pride parades around the world.
  • At Exxon, you officially protect all LGBTIQ employees from discrimination, and have said that “ExxonMobil supports a work environment that values diversity and inclusion”

However, you should strive to uphold this same integrity and protective principles when it comes to the places in which you do business and who you do business with. The capture, detention, and torture of men perceived to be gay in Chechnya not only goes against your company's values, it is a grotesque human rights violation on a prolific scale.

In order to ensure that your companies are truly committed to protecting LGBTIQ people in all aspects of your work, it is imperative that you intervene in the appalling situation in Chechnya. We ask that you use any means possible to urge Russian authorities to immediately end these horrific violations against men who may be or are perceived to be gay and investigate these crimes.

We urge you to use your power and consciousness to save these men and bring relief to the situation.

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