US Congress passes resolution condemning anti-gay purge in Chechnya
US Congress has passed a resolution which condemns an anti-gay purge in Chechnya.
Months of reports have claimed that as many as 100 gay men have been rounded up and put in prisons in the nation.
The bipartisan motion, House Resolution 351, was introduced on 23 May by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
The Republican is also part of the House LGBT Equality Caucus.
It calls on Russia to investigate the anti-gay purge in Chechnya and to put a stop to the violence.
The resolution also asks the US government to “demand the release of individuals wrongly detained.”
Speaking after the resolution was passed, Ros-Lehtinen said: “We will continue to stand united with the LGBT community and shine a bright light on these atrocities, which are encouraged by the evil Putin regime in Russia, in order to help ensure that those who are responsible for these crimes are held to account for their despicable actions.”
Another LGBT Caucus member, Representative David Cicilline added: “I’m proud that the House passed this strong resolution condemning the recent violence targeting gay men in Chechnya. Now, it’s critical that we do more to ensure those fleeing horrific violence can relocate somewhere safe.
“This is an important step, but there is much more work left to be done.”
The ‘concentration camps’ were reportedly set up in February 2017, with gay men being abducted, held prisoner and tortured there.
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It’s said that police found contact information for several gay men on the phone of a Chechen man who had been stopped for an alleged drugs offence.
Kadyrov’s press secretary Alvi Karimov, dismissed the report as “absolute lies”, but followed that up with a bizarre claim that there are no gay people in Chechnya and added the chilling message: “If there were such people in Chechnya, law-enforcement agencies wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”
An activist stands naked wrapped in a rainbow flag (John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)
It later emerged that some families were doing just that – killing the gay members of their families themselves. In one shocking report, a teenager was pushed to his death from a ninth-floor balcony by an uncle after he was outed.
State Duma Deputy of Chechnya Magomed Selimkhanov added: “In Chechnya, there are no gays, so there is no attitude toward them. Personally, I think that they belong two metres under the ground.”
Two camps were initially reported on, based in the villages of Argun and Tsotsi-Yurt, but further investigations revealed a further four jails for gay people, bringing the total number believed to be in the Chechen Republic up to six.
One was later destroyed and moved to a new location.