U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley spoke out this week and called for an investigation into ongoing reports coming from Chechnya that the government is arresting, torturing and murdering suspected homosexuals in the Russian state.
Haley issued a statement regarding the growing human rights issue, calling for facts to be verified and crimes stopped:
“If true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored ― Chechen authorities must immediately investigate these allegations, hold anyone involved accountable, and take steps to prevent future abuses.”
“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.”
Haley’s comments come after the State Department also called for an investigation into the issue late last week.
Reports began emerging from Chechnya three weeks ago. In the reports, residents say that beginning in February of this year, government officials began arresting and rounding up men suspected of homosexuality, sending them to a military camp, torturing and even killing them. Reports say that as many as 20 have been killed at the camp, while many others remain there under cruel conditions.
Verifying these reports is difficult as both Russia and the Chechnyan government has been flippant and resistant to releasing any information.
“A spokesperson for Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, denied the existence of LGBTQ people in Chechnya, telling the Interfax news agency, “You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic.””
Others suggested that regular residents should “hunt down” homosexuals so that the state needs not do it themselves.
As for Russia, Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov suggested that those who are accusing the Chechen government of torture and murder should file an official complaint. That’s really no surprise considering Putin’s treatment of LGBT in Russia.
It is encouraging to see conservatives like Haley speaking out against this human rights violation, even as it could potentially strain relations between the U.S. and Russia. So far, Haley has not been hesitant to criticize Russia.