Haley Applauded for Pressing for Accountability in Chechnya
New York City—Human Rights First today praised to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley for pressing for accountability over the ongoing persecution of gay men in Chechnya. Ambassador Haley’s public call for action followed a letter from Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino that expressed alarm over reports of the detention and abuse of over one hundred gay men by Chechen authorities. During the recent crackdown at least three men have been killed.
Massimino urged Ambassador Haley to work with U.S. allies to develop a comprehensive response and to engage with her Russian counterparts to ensure a thorough investigation of the abuses. The letter came in advance of today’s thematic hearing on human rights at the U.N. Security Council.
“A comprehensive international response to the situation in Chechnya is crucial to asserting the international community’s values and advancing human rights,” wrote Massimino. “I strongly support your initiative to use the U.S. presidency of the U.N. Security Council to advance international thinking on the clear links between upholding universal values and the maintenance of international peace and security, and hope that you will use this effort to call attention to an ongoing outrage that has no place in the modern world.”
Last month independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported on the mass detention of men “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such.” Journalists reporting on the situation have been threatened by Chechen government officials and clerics. In addition to the deaths, survivors reported beatings and torture, as well as being forced to disclose the names of other suspected gay men in the region. As the crisis continues, LGBT organizations on the ground are evacuating victims from the country.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s spokesperson categorically denied that the abuses are taking place, calling the reports “absolute lies and disinformation.” He alluded to honor killings of LGBT people within the republic, saying, “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.”
At the time of her confirmation hearing, Ambassador Haley affirmed that “every person deserves decency and respect.” She maintained this commitment last month when she highlighted the need to integrate human rights issues into the agenda of the U.N. Security Council. In light of the current crisis and today’s thematic hearing, Ambassador Haley’s response is a welcome continuation of her commitment to protecting human rights.
“The protection of the most vulnerable is key to advancing human rights for all citizens, and to securing stability, peace, and prosperity,” added Massimino.