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Senate Unanimously Condemns Chechen Attacks on Gays; Trump Remains Silent

Chechnya

Led by Pat Toomey, a Republican senator from Pennsylvania, and Ed Markey, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, the U.S. Senate Tuesday unanimously passed a condemnation of the detention, torture, and murder of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya

The Senate's resolution follows a similar one passed by the House in June, spearheaded by Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. 

At least 100 men have been kidnapped and jailed for their sexual orientation since April, according to local reports; several men have died. Lesbians and bisexual women may now be in the cross hairs of homophobic Chechen officials, according to the Washington Blade.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley have offered muted condemnations of the atrocities in Chechnya; Tillerson sent a letter of concern to the Russian Foreign Minister and Haley issued one statement.

Meanwhile, President Trump has not said a word about what is going on in the semiautonomous Russian region. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a plea for action on Chechen atrocities at a speech Saturday at the Human Rights Campaign gala in Washington, D.C.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has said that gay people are "devils" and argued they don't exist in Chechnya.

“By passing this resolution, the Senate is showing that Congress is leading the charge on human rights issues,” Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord said in a statement. “Last night’s vote is a message to Russian leadership that America remains on guard against those that would persecute vulnerable communities. We hope this will drive further engagement by the State Department and White House.”

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