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Worldwide Outrage Growing In Response to Targeting of Gay Men in Chechnya

by Countable | 4.13.17

Worldwide outrage is growing in response to reports that at least a hundred, and possibly hundreds, of gay men have been rounded up by the government of Chechnya, tortured and imprisoned in concentration camps.

Attention turned to the issue following an explosive report by Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta detailing the abuses, which include the alleged murder of three men. Soon after, British news outlet The Independent spread the report and yesterday The Guardian published an interview with a gay Chechen man who reported that he had been detained by government authorities, subjected to electric shocks, beaten and asked to name other gay men for similar punishment.

The Chechen government has denied all reports of government arrests or targeting. Alvi Kamarov, spokesman for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, stated to Interfax news agency:

"You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic...If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning."

Extrajudicial "honor" killings of gay men are, according to reports, a fact of life in the ultra-conservative, Muslim-majority country. A representative of Kadyrov’s human rights council denied any issue in the country, maintaining:

"In our Chechen society, any person who respects our traditions and culture will hunt down this kind of person without any help from authorities, and do everything to make sure that this kind of person does not exist in our society."

The Chechen government is a Russian republic and leader Ramzan Kadyrov is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. State Department official Mark Toner urged the Russian government, in advance of Secretary. of State Rex Tillerson’s state visit there this week, to investigate the reports of the arrests. Also last week, 50 members of Congress signed onto a letter from the House LGBT Caucus urging Sec. Tillerson to publicly condemn the abuses of gay men in Chechnya and call on the Russian government to intervene:

"...we urge you to publicly condemn the targeting of gay men in Chechnya, and to make clear to Russian authorities that lawless detentions, arrests, tortures and murders are unacceptable and that a proper, thorough investigation of these atrocities must take place."

There have been no reports verifying whether or not Sec. Tillerson addressed the abuses with Russian officials during his visit.

Various human rights groups are trying to mobilize action around the issue. Human Rights First and the Human Rights Campaign have called for action by Sec. Tillerson, while GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis called for U.N Representative Nikki Haley to speak out publicly to condemn the abuses in concert with U.N. experts. Amnesty International has begun circulating a citizen petition.

Should the State Department insist that Russia intervene with the government of Chechnya to investigate and stop abuses of gay men? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: The Insider / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(94)
  • Calhoun
    04/13/2017
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    It's hard to believe this is reality but it's too naive to ignore it. Our government has already inserted itself into other countries where it doesn't belong and yet we remain silent on this? Make your voices heard for those who are being silenced.

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  • Kyle
    04/13/2017
    ···

    Take note of this! Because while treatment of the LGBTQ community is "better" here in the States, we all need to be aware of what's going on. No matter where you live, what you believe in, people are being killed for who they are and love. This goes against all civil rights and humanity. This is what happened during the Holocaust, and we need to do something to stop them now to prevent that from happening again!

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  • M
    04/13/2017
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    Remember that among the "undesirables" that Hitler sent to the gas chambers were gay men & women. This is no different! America & the UN needs to act now!

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  • WeaverWitch
    04/13/2017
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    Even though we still don't have a great record of human rights with gay and trans people, we still should speak out as a government against rounding up and routinely torturing gay men in Chechnya

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  • Cole
    04/13/2017
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    Something needs to be done about this. If a group is being attacked, everyone is being attacked. Protect those who have done nothing except be themselves

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  • Cb
    04/13/2017
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    Protect LGBTQ people worldwide! This brutality MUST BE STOPPED! #NOHOLOCAUST2 !

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  • Leslie
    04/14/2017
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    It is outrageous that the world still views those that love someone of the same sex as "other". Who some one loves isn't important. That they do love someone is. Unless we stand up to atrocities,such as what is rumored to be happening in Chechnya, we have not learned from history. Past administrations in America could be counted on to stand up to evil. This administration will probably agree with these despicable actions. We are counting on you to stand up for those that can't protect themselves.

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  • Sylvan
    04/14/2017
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    Whether it be gay people, Jews, blacks, or any other minority, this is a clear violation of international human rights. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley must immediately condemn this humanitarian crisis.

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  • Stacy
    04/13/2017
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    This is outrageous. I hope you view these people as people and take into consideration, replace gay with A religion (Christian), or a citizenship (American), or a gender (male/female). Who will stand up for you, when they come for you? We must as a human race, put these ridiculous ideologies aside and focus on our future, together as humane humans.

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  • Jonathan
    04/13/2017
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    Condemn these actions. No human deserves to be in a concentration camp who is harming no one -- whether we support their personal sexual choices or not.

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  • Michael
    04/13/2017
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    The world should definitely be outraged! Our government should be the loudest among them.

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  • CallumT
    04/14/2017
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    We need to stand with our LGBT+ brothers, sisters, and anyone in between. Being gay is not a crime, not a disease, and we will not be silenced by them rounding us up and putting us in camps. This isn't right! Conversion therapy, which is what this is, just in a more exploded version, kills people, it leads to a denial of who we are, and it hurts. Do NOT let these poor men, and what will most likely end up being women, as well, die without them knowing that we didn't fight for them, too.

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  • Vanessa
    04/14/2017
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    Note: This is Islamic targeting NOT Russian targeting. The same people who are crying out about this are the same people who are embracing Islamism in the US and blocking President Trump from limiting extremist Muslims from entering our country. Logic seems to leave the liberal brain.

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  • Cindy
    04/14/2017
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    This is wrong. We should help them.

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  • Theresa
    04/14/2017
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    We need to urge Chechnya to stop torturing innocent people. It's inhumane

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  • Iotadog
    04/14/2017
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    The Chechnyan authorities are sending a message with these acts. They feel bolder in commiting these atrocities because of recent geo political changes. Our leaders must send a strong message that backsliding into commiting human rights abuses against GLBTQ will not be shrugged off.

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  • Laurel
    04/13/2017
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    Yes! We need to take action and speak out against these evil travesties! How can we stand here and pretend everything's OK? Let's do what we can to help these men!

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  • Daniel
    04/14/2017
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    If the United States is going to use its muscles to stop rouge nations or terrorist grouped from making trouble then the US needs to condemn this kind of violence against LGBT persons in other countries. Chechnya and other countries who persecute people of different lifestyles need to be put on notice that their behavior is wrong.

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  • Janice
    04/14/2017
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    Let's be clear and speak in simple terms. When we say, "something must be done" we don't mean bomb yet another place. However, every other tool should be used to stop the attacks on LGBTQ and their murders as well in Chechnya.

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  • Elaine
    04/14/2017
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    We must stand up for our LGBTQ Rights SO THEY WILL NOT BE SILENCED. HAVE SOME HUMANITY FOR GOODNESS SAKE!

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