Boston ( April 19, 2017 ) — Senators Edward J. Markey ( D-Mass. ) and Todd Young ( R-Ind. ) today led a bipartisan group of 12 senators in calling on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley to continue to put diplomatic pressure on their Russian counterparts to respond to the recent reports of the detention, torture, and killing of members of the Chechen LGBTI community. Recent reports have highlighted the detention and torture of approximately 100 gay men in that country based solely on their sexual orientation, with some reports revealing that Chechen authorities have been responsible for the deaths of at least three of these men. Because Russia is a member of the Council of Europe, it is a party to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which guarantees a broad range of rights and freedoms for all people, without exception, including the right to life and prohibition of torture.
"The detention, torture, or murder of members of the LGBTI community represents a deplorable violation of fundamental human rights," write the Senators in the letter to Secretary Tillerson and Ambassador Haley. "The United States must lead the world community to condemn such a violation, in Russia or anywhere else, and we must take steps to address them. We must stand in solidarity with those brave enough to fight for basic human rights around the world, and rally the entire world to do the same."
A copy of the letter can be found at the link: www.markey.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2017-04—19-Markey-Chechnya-letter.pdf .
Senators Markey and Young were joined on the letter by Senators Richard Blumenthal ( D-Conn. ), Jeff Merkley ( D-Ore. ), Cory Booker ( D-N.J. ), Elizabeth Warren ( D-Mass. ), Bernie Sanders ( I-Vt. ), Chris Coons ( D-Del. ), Tammy Baldwin ( D-Wisc. ), Dianne Feinstein ( D-Calif. ), Kirsten Gillibrand ( D-N.Y. ), and Patrick Leahy ( D-Vt. ).