Vice President Joe Biden, Credit: Kenton / Flickr
“When faced with such crimes of hate and inhumanity, it is the responsibility of every person of conscience to speak out — to oppose this campaign of violence before it continues further.”
–Former Vice President Joe Biden, in a statement released on Friday condemning the abduction, torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya.
Gay men are reported to have been assaulted, blackmailed, even held in concentration camp-style prisons in a state-sanctioned purge, with as many as 100 men arrested for homosexuality.
Biden said he was “disgusted and appalled” at the situation in Chechnya.
“Every man or woman on this earth is entitled to be treated with dignity—to live without fear and to love freely,” he said. “Unfortunately, the human rights abuses perpetrated by Chechen authorities and the culture of impunity that surrounds them means that these hate crimes are unlikely to ever be properly investigated or that the perpetrators will see justice. But that does not mean that we should fail to defend basic human rights, fundamental freedoms, and universal values.”
Biden implored the Trump administration to raise the crisis in Chechnya with Russian leaders, saying: “The United States must lead the way to demand an end to these egregious violations of human rights.”
Amnesty International this week launched a petition demanding an end to the crisis in Chechnya, condemning the Chechen authorities for their apparent complicity in the attacks on LGBTQ people and urging “immediate action to ensure [LGBTQ people’s] safety.”
Ellen DeGeneres and other celebrities have taken to Twitter to inform their followers of what’s happening in Chechnya, with DeGeneres tweeting that the world needed to “rise up” and help tortured gay men in the region.