The U.S. Senate on Tuesday unanimously
approved a resolution that condemns a crackdown against sexual
minorities in Chechnya.
The resolution was introduced earlier
this year by Senators Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, and
Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts. The House in June approved
a nearly identical resolution.
Authorities in Chechnya, a
semi-autonomous Russian republic, have rounded up scores of gay men
and men who appear to be gay since the start of the year. According
to various reports, the men are beaten and tortured in secret
prisons. Reports have also surfaced of Chechen authorities targeting
women who they perceive to be lesbian. Russian and Chechen
authorities have denied the reports.
The resolution “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
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, applauded passage of the
resolution and called on President Donald Trump and Secretary of
State Rex Tillerson to publicly condemn the atrocities, something
neither has done.
“With unanimous passage of this
resolution, the U.S. Senate just sent a powerful message. Despite the
deafening silence from the White House, the people of the United
States strongly condemn these anti-LGBTQ attacks in Chechnya,” said
Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “Members of both parties in both
chambers have now condemned the anti-LGBTQ Chechen violence and
persecution, and it’s far past time that President Trump and
Secretary Tillerson also publicly do so. Given the growing violence
and arrests of LGBTQ people around the world, the United States must
not back away from leading on LGBTQ human rights.”