SCHUMER CO-SPONSORS SENATE RESOLUTION CONDEMNING PERSECUTION OF GAY MEN IN CHECHNYA; SENATOR SAYS AMERICA MUST PRESSURE PRESIDENT PUTIN TO PUNISH PERPETRATORS OF LGBTQ VIOLENCE
Schumer, A Strong Advocate for the LGBTQ Community, Announces Support for Bipartisan Resolution Which Calls for an Immediate End to the Persecution of LGBTQ Individuals in Chechnya
Resolution Also Calls on Chechnya & Russia to Investigate the Violence, Punish the Perpetrators & Protect Humans Rights for All Citizens
Schumer: As Americans, We Must Put Pressure On President Putin to Punish the Perpetrators of LGBTQ Violence
Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he is a co-sponsor of bipartisan Senate Resolution (S.Res.211) condemning Chechan officials’ torture, murder, and call for so-called “honor killings” of men who are, or are suspected of being, gay. The resolution was introduced by U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R – Pa.) and Ed Markey (D – Ma.) and is supported by more than one-third of the U.S. Senate. Specifically, the resolution calls for an immediate end to the persecution in Chechnya and calls on Chechnya and Russia to investigate the violence, punish the perpetrators and protect the human rights of all citizens.
“As Americans, it’s important that we show our deepest support for groups targeted for systemic and state-sanctioned human rights violations, including members of the LGBTQ community,”said Senator Schumer. “We have unfortunately been down this road before, one in which innocent individuals are persecuted for being who they are. We shouldn’t allow the sad history to repeat itself. We must put pressure on Russia to punish the perpetrators in Chechnya who are orchestrating and acquiescing in violence against gay men so as to protect the human rights of all its citizens. This resolution, which I am proud to co-sponsor, sends a warning message to Russia that America is watching and we will not stay silent when it comes to protecting the human rights of all individuals.”
According to news reports, Chechen authorities have abducted, beaten, tortured, and—in at least three cases—killed men because they are believed to be gay. Chechen officials have also encouraged families to conduct “honor killings” of gay or bisexual individuals, stating “If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.” Chechnya, which is a republic of the Russian Federation, continues its anti-gay purge while being defended by Vladimir Putin and Russian officials.
The House of Representatives has already passed an identical resolution by voice vote.
Read the entire Senate resolution below:
Whereas, on April 1, 2017, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that authorities in Chechnya, a republic of the Russian Federation, had abducted, detained, and tortured over 100 men due to their actual or suspected sexual orientation;
Whereas multiple independent and first-hand accounts have subsequently corroborated the Novaya Gazeta report, and describe a campaign of persecution by Chechen officials against men due to their actual or suspected sexual orientation;
Whereas, as a result of this persecution, at least three deaths have been reported and many individuals have been forced to flee Chechnya;
Whereas Chechen officials have denied the existence of such persecution, including through a statement by the spokesman for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov that “You cannot arrest or repress people who don’t exist in the republic.”;
Whereas the same spokesman for Ramzan Kadyrov has also stated that “If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return,” and credible reports indicate that Chechen authorities have encouraged families to carry out so-called “honor killings” of relatives due to their actual or suspected sexual orientation;
Whereas Chechnya is a constituent republic of the Russian Federation and subject to its laws, and Ramzan Kadyrov was installed as the leader of Chechnya by Russian President Vladimir Putin;
Whereas Chechen authorities have a long history of violating the fundamental human rights of their citizens, including through extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, and torture of government critics;
Whereas Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed reports of persecution in Chechnya and termed them “phantom complaints”;
Whereas Russia’s Human Rights Ombudsman, Tatyana Moskalkova, has also claimed that such reports should not be believed because formal complaints have not been registered with the appropriate authorities;
Whereas the Russian Federation is a participating State of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and thus has agreed to guarantee the fundamental human rights of all of its citizens;
Whereas, on April 7, 2017, the United States Department of State issued a statement saying “We categorically condemn the persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation” and urging the Government of the Russian Federation to take steps to ensure the release of all those wrongfully detained in Chechnya, and to conduct a credible investigation of the reports; and
Whereas, on April 17, 2017, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a statement saying “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.”: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) condemns the violence and persecution in Chechnya and calls on Chechen officials to immediately cease the abduction, detention, and torture of individuals on the basis of their actual or suspected sexual orientation, and hold accountable all those involved in perpetrating such abuses;
(2) calls on the Government of the Russian Federation to protect the human rights of all its citizens, condemn the violence and persecution, investigate these crimes in Chechnya, and hold accountable all those involved in perpetrating such abuses;
(3) calls on the United States Government to continue to condemn the violence and persecution in Chechnya, demand the release of individuals wrongfully detained, and identify those individuals whose involvement in this violence qualifies for the imposition of sanctions under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 (Public Law 112–208; 22 U.S.C. 5811 note) or the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Public Law 114–328); and
(4) affirms that the rights to freedom of assembly, association, and expression and freedom from extrajudicial detention and violence are universal human rights that apply to all persons, and that countries that fail to respect these rights jeopardize the security and prosperity of all their citizens.