(EDGE) On Thursday the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously voted to advance a resolution condemning the violence and persecution of LGBTQ people in the Republic of Chechnya. The move came two weeks after President Trump neglected to mention the atrocities in the Russian republic during his North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba-bashing address to the United Nations General Assembly.
"The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's unanimous condemnation of the ongoing violence and persecution against LGBTQ Chechens is crucially important," said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. "President Trump's severe lack of leadership on this life and death situation in Russia is deeply disturbing, and it's far past time he speaks out. Given the violence and arrests LGBTQ people are facing in places like Chechnya, Azerbaijan, Tanzania, and Egypt, the U.S. must not back away from leading on LGBTQ human rights. We urge the full Senate to quickly pass this important resolution and send a strong message to this administration, the victims, and those responsible for these atrocities."
HRC notes that the bipartisan resolution introduced by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) "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." It also calls on the U.S. government to "continue to condemn the violence and persecution in Chechnya."
"This resolution condemns Chechnyan officials' torture, murder, and incitement of so-called honor killings of men who are or are suspected of being gay, calls for an end to the persecution, and calls on Russian authorities to investigate it, punish the perpetrators, and protect the human rights of all citizens," said Sen. Market. "We have 45 senators -- cosponsors on both sides of the aisle...I introduced it with Senator Toomey to ensure that it would be bipartisan, and I think it's an important statement for the Senate to make, that we stand united with Chechnya's LGBTQ community, who are victims of this cruel and murderous treatment at the hands of the Chechnyan officials who govern under the authority of Russia and it is important for us to persistently speak against inhumane treatment of human beings, no matter where they are on the planet."
HRC notes that while U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is on record as being the most senior Trump Administration official to speak out against the violence, both President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have thus far publicly remained silent.