U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says America will not ignore reports that authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya are persecuting suspected gay men.
“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,” she said in a statement Monday.
“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 said the U.S. is spearheading efforts at the U.N. to address human rights abuses like those allegedly occurring in Chechnya.
“We are against all forms of discrimination, including against people based on sexual orientation,” she continued. “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.”
According to reports this month, police in Chechnya have detained more than 100 people suspected of being gay.
Russian activists claim the victims are being held at a detention center near the Chechen town of Argun.
Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim region governed by Ramzan Kadyrov, who is reportedly close with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kadyrov’s government denied the alleged persecution, claiming Chechnya does not have an LGBT population.
“You can’t detain and repress people who simply don’t exist in the republic,” spokesman Alvi Karimov said last week.
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