Democrat & Republican Representatives Took A Stance Against Anti-LGBTQ Violence In Chechnya

Photo: BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP/Getty Images.
As anti-LGBTQ violence continues in Chechnya, Democrat and Republican representatives have come together to officially introduce a resolution condemning the reported torture and detainment of gay and bisexual men.
On Tuesday, U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Darrell Issa (R-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Ed Royce (R-CA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced House Resolution 351, which holds Russian and Chechen authorities accountable for violence in the region.
In April, reports surfaced that gay and bisexual men were being captured and tortured in concentration camp-like prisons in Chechnya. Independent local newspaper Novoya Gazeta reported that detainees faced electric shocking and violent beatings. According to recent reports, as many as 26 men have died.
"For over a month, hundreds of gay or perceived to be gay Chechens have been arrested, many have been tortured, and some even killed," Representative Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. "The U.S. government needs to continue to speak up to help those who are being indiscriminately targeted, and we must pressure Russia to uphold its international commitment to prevent any further abuses from happening while perpetrators are brought to justice."
While Russian president Vladimir Putin has backed an inquiry into the violence, BuzzFeed reported that a Russian embassy has denied the abuses. The Russian Embassy to Israel said that the investigations were complete, and "there are no victims of persecution, threats or violence."
Meanwhile, the Russian LGBT Network has been on the ground providing a lifeline to victims, and helped to evacuate 40 men from Chechnya.
"We’ve heard chilling reports of authorities in Chechnya detaining, torturing, and even killing men from the LGBT community over the last several weeks," Representative Engel said in a statement. "We are witnessing the unfolding of a horrific tragedy and it’s long past time that the Kremlin start protecting its own citizens — all of them — regardless of sexual orientation."
To find out more about what you can do to take action and help, head to the Human Rights Campaign's website.
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