U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is calling on Chechen authorities to investigate reports of anti-gay persecution, and “if true,” put a stop to those actions, reports The Hill.
“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,” Haley said in a statement.
“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 the United States will be spearheading efforts at the United Nations to address — and condemn — human rights abuses like those reportedly occurring in Chechnya.
“We are against all forms of discrimination, including against people based on sexual orientation,” Haley said in a statement. “When left unchecked, discrimination and human rights abuses can lead to destabilization and conflict.”
Earlier this month, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that police in Chechnya have rounded up more than 100 men suspected of homosexuality, killing at least three of them and detaining the rest in concentration camps.
Human Rights Watch has corroborated the reports of persecution in the predominantly Muslim Russian republic, saying they were “consistent” with information they’d received from LGBTQ sources in Russia.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, has denied that Chechnya even has an LGBTQ population.
“You can’t detain and repress people who simply don’t exist in the Republic,” Kadyrov’s spokesman, Alvi Karimov, said in a statement.
Russian authorities have also denied knowledge of any anti-gay detentions or killings, with a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin saying that the reports have yet to be verified.
GLAAD, which called on Haley to denounce the persecution going on in Chechnya last week, issued a statement praising Haley for clearly stating U.S. opposition anti-LGBTQ discrimination abroad.
“The attacks on LGBTQ men and reports of concentration camps in Chechnya were beyond horrific, and Ambassador Haley is taking the right step in speaking out against these blatant violations of human rights,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement. “This is a powerful sign that the U.S. Mission to the United Nations will continue to prioritize LGBTQ acceptance and fight discrimination and human rights abuses around the world.”