The U.S. government has started to act on the reports, first circulated Saturday, that there has been an increase in state-sanctioned anti-LGBT violence in Chechnya. Responding to the reports that over 100 LGBT Chechens have been “detained, tortured, or murdered” in the autonomous section of Russia, the State Department issued a statement on the matter to BuzzFeed News:
We are aware of troubling reports that local authorities in the Republic of Chechnya have arrested or detained more than 100 men, as well as reports that three of those detained were killed. We condemn violence against any individuals based on their sexual orientation or any other basis. We urge the Russian government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into the alleged killings and mass arrests, and hold the perpetrators responsible. We were likewise deeply disturbed by local authorities statements that apparently condone and even incite violence against LGBTI persons.
We are very concerned by the widespread discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons in Russia or any society. We call on the Russian government to protect all people from discrimination and violence, and allow the free exercise of the freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and religion or belief.
Chechnya is governed by Ramzan Kadyrov, officially “Head of the Chechen Republic.” In the west, he’s usually referred to with terms like “dictator” and “warlord.”
[image via shutterstock]