Washington, D.C. - Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) led a bipartisan group of senators in urging President Donald Trump to continue to condemn the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the Chechen Republic of Russia and hold accountable the Russian and Chechen officials responsible for flagrant human rights abuses. According to numerous news reports, Chechen authorities have abducted, beaten, tortured, and-in at least three cases-killed men because they are believed to be gay. Chechen officials have also encouraged families to conduct "honor killings" of gay or bisexual individuals.
"On this one-year anniversary of when the world first began to hear reports about LGBT persecutions in Chechnya, we write to offer our assistance and join together in letting the world know that the United States has not forgotten the abuses of these individuals in Russia," write the Senators in their letter to President Trump. "While most survivors have since fled and been resettled to safer countries for their own protection, we still have concerns that others are still hiding in Chechnya and remain vulnerable to abuses."
A copy of the letter to President Trump can be found HERE.
The letter also was signed by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Last year, the Senate passed bipartisan resolution (S.Res.211), introduced by Senators Markey and Toomey, condemning Chechen officials' torture, murder, and call for so-called "honor killings" of men who are, or are suspected of being, gay. The Toomey-Markey resolution, which was co-sponsored by 46 Republican and Democratic senators, urges an immediate end to the persecution and calls on Chechnya and Russia to punish the perpetrators and protect the human rights of all citizens. A companion measure also passed the U.S. House earlier this year.