Scroll To Top

HRC Urges Trump and Putin to End Antigay Violence in Chechnya

hrc projection finland

The Human Rights Campaign sent Trump and Putin a message before their summit -- by projecting it onto the building where the officials were to meet.

The Human Rights Campaign urged Donald Trump and Vladmir Putin to end the violence against gay and bisexual men in Chechnya by projecting a a gigantic message on the presidential palace in Helsinki, Finland, the site of their summit.

The HRC made a point of projecting the message the day before Putin and Trump's summit onto the building where the world leaders would be meeting. The projected messages included "Trump and Putin: Stop the crimes against humanity in Chechnya" and "The whole world is watching," along with direct calls to action, like "Investigate LGBTQ persecution in Chechnya" and "Bring the perpetrators to justice."

Throughout the 15 months Trump has been in office, he has failed to acknowledge what the HRC called the "systematic torture, abuse, and murder" of gay and bi men in the Russian republic of Chechnya, and has agreed to meet with the president who has, at best, ignored this violence.

"Trump has unconscionably turned a blind eye to some of the worst anti-LGBTQ atrocities in a generation, including monstrous attacks on gay and bisexual men in Chechnya," said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global.

The day that HRC projected its messages onto the presidential building, a rally was held in Helsinki to protest the Trump-Putin summit. Among other human rights organizations, the HRC spoke out in protest against the ongoing violence against LGBT people that the leaders have allowed to continue.

"HRC is here in Helsinki to demand Donald Trump end his deafening silence, publicly condemn these Chechen crimes against humanity, and call on Putin to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice," Cobb said.

"Finland is known as a global leader in LGBTI rights, and the Trump and Putin administrations should learn from that example," said Viima Lampinen, chairperson of Seta, Finland's national organization for LGBTI rights. "LGBT Chechens are being deprived of their voice, their freedom, and even their lives by state-sanctioned oppression and violence. Those of us who have a voice, particularly national governments that claim to support and defend human rights, have a moral and ethical obligation to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice."

Since last April, when a Russian independent media outlet called Novaya Gazeta broke the news of the so-called gay purge in Chechnya emerged, over 100 men have been detained and at least three and up to 20 have been killed, reports say.

"We are grateful to all people and organizations who support our work in Chechnya. International attention is essential to putting pressure on Russian authorities to take action," said Igor Kochetkov, chair of the Russian LGBT Network, Russia's largest network of organizations fighting for LGBT human rights. "Russian authorities deny even the mere existence of LGBT people in Chechnya, but with continued international pressure, we aim to stop the persecution, torture, and killing of LGBT people in Chechnya, and ensure that those responsible for these crimes against humanity are brought to justice."

While members of the Trump administration like U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert have acknowledged the violence taking place in Chechnya, the president has failed to, and both Putin and Chechen President Ranzam Kadyrov have either denied or made light of the reports.

Other Chechen authorities have denied the violence against LGBT people in their country along with the existence of LGBT people in Chechyna at all, and even encouraged its citizens to murder relatives they suspect may be gay or bisexual, according to the HRC.

Since reports of the violence against against gay and bisexual men and Chechnya have been circulating, there has been an increase in visibility of Chechen lesbians who have come forward with stories about "humiliation, abuse, and threats" that "male relatives or others" have inflicted upon them, a press release from the HRC says.

There have also been reports of transgender citizens fleeing Chechnya in the wake of the country's persecution of its LGBT citizens.

While Trump's White House has failed to speak up on the issue, Congress has been taking action to acknowledge the violence in Chechnya, such as when it condemned the anti-LGBT attacks in a resolution passed unanimously last year.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Mary Grace Lewis