After a considerable delay, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says that the United States will not ignore reports that authorities in Chechnya are persecuting men that they suspect to be gay.
In a statement released on Monday, Haley explained,
“We continue to be disturbed by reports of kidnapping, torture and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation and those persecuted by association… If true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored – Chechen authorities must immediately investigate these allegations, hold everyone involved accountable, and take steps to prevent future abuses.”
Haley added that America is spearheading the efforts at the United Nations to address human rights abuses like those that are occurring in Chechnya.
“We are against all forms of discrimination, including against people based on sexual orientation. When left unchecked, discrimination and human rights abuses can lead to destabilization and conflict. Tomorrow, the United States will lead the first-ever meeting on human rights in international conflicts in the U.N. Security Council to underscore our commitment to addressing human rights abuses wherever they threaten international peace and security.”
A Russian newspaper and human rights advocates have reported that 100 gay men were picked up and imprisoned in the country, at least three of whom were allegedly murdered.
Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported, “In Chechnya, the command was given for a ‘prophylactic sweep’ and it went as far as real murders.”
A spokesperson for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the claims on the basis that no one within the country is homosexual, saying, “you cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic.”
The spokesman continued,
“If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them since their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”