Secretary of State admits he hasn’t spoken to Russia about Chechnya’s antigay atrocities

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admitted to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that he hadn’t brought up the treatment of gay and bisexual men in concentration camps in Chechnya when speaking with his Russian counterparts.

As The New Civil Rights Movement reports, the info was revealed during a hearing after Rhode Island Democratic Representative David Cicilline asked a series of questions.

Last month, House Resolution 351 was passed by a group of bipartisan lawmakers condemning the treatment of LGBTQ people in Chechnya and sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). But apparently, neither President Trump nor any senior U.S. officials have focused their attention on the situation. The only exception is United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Related: New short film demonstrates the horrors gay men face in Chechnya

According to Human Rights Watch, gay men in Chechnya are being systematically kidnapped, locked up in secret concentration camps, viciously tortured, and in some instances killed.

While the likes of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Emmanuel Macron of France, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada have condemned the killings, Human Rights Campaign’s Government Affairs Director David Stacy took issue with Tillerson’s offhand remarks:

“People have been tortured and killed in Chechnya, yet Secretary Tillerson admitted today he hasn’t raised concern about the atrocities against gay and bisexual men with his Russian counterparts — not even once.

When directly asked during the hearing to clearly condemn the attacks, Sec. Tillerson declined to do so. And he had no idea if the President has raised the issue. The Trump/Pence administration’s lack of leadership on this issue and human rights around the globe is beyond disturbing. The time for action is now.”

This April, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that over 100 gay men had been rounded up and detained under suspicion of “untraditional sexual orientation.” Three men have already been killed in the antigay purge, the paper reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has allegedly called for an investigation into the claims of gay men’s torture and murder in Chechnya, while Human Rights Watch is conducting its own investigation into the “antigay purge.”

The organization reports that families are being “indirectly encourag[ed]” to kill gay members, in order to restore honor.

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  • ChrisK

    Did anyone really expect any of Chump administration to condemn Chechnya or Russia. They love Fascist Murderous Dictators.

    • Mo Bro

      You’re joking, right, DCguy?

      History clearly explains the left never met a dictator it didn’t like (it appears you’re yet again employing the tactics of Goebbels: “Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty”)

      I’d ask you to address the left’s rabid defense of Hugo Chavez, Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, and the Castro brothers, but that’s a question that sends liberals scrambling to change the subject, so I expect no response . . . except maybe the old standby, “Trump is baaaaad.”

    • DarkZephyr

      @Mo Bro, all of that being said, what are your thoughts on the fact that the current administration will not address Chechnya? Two wrongs don’t make a right, after all.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      “If you go carryin’ pictures of Chairman Mao / you’re not gonna make it with anyone anyhow.” – The Beatles, 1968

      Yep, everyone on the “left” loves all those lefty commie dictators.

      Those sandal-wearing hippie stoners at the vegan food co-op with their “Free Tibet” t-shirts.

    • Mo Bro

      A single line form a single song from a half-century ago is “proof” liberals don’t worship dictators? My my, gotta love that liberal logic that ignores history books and relies on pop music.

      Yep, it’s a situation that should be addressed, but if history were to address Barack Obama and the myriad issues he failed to address, there would be no time to address anything else.

    • DCguy

      Notice Mo Bro’s tactic.

      Avoiding the topic, then when pressed, minimizes the topic and tries to divert with a vague comment about Obama.

      In other words, doing anything he can to protect another one of Putin’s boys, just like he does with Trump.

    • ChrisK

      This is why I avoid talking to Mo bro and his other screen names as much as possible. It’s all smoke and mirrors with them. Facts are considered alt facts to them. First ignore what you said. Then twist it into something completely different to win whatever argument you’re in with them.

    • JK 1984

      While I hate to feed the troll @Mo Bro:
      Saddam Hussein
      Osama Bin Laden
      The Iranian Shah
      Augustus Pinochet
      Francisco Franco
      Multiple Central and South American democratically elected governments (and some authoritarian ones as well for balance) overthrown with support from the USA, because the government chosen by the people was too socialist/communist for the American governments liking. Think Panama, Guatemala and Cuba for three examples.

      All fascist/right wing governments supported by the USA. So of course it is all the left/liberals and the right is as clean as new snow.

      As someone who would be considered a Liberal if I lived in the US, I am very much against ANYONE holding the reins of power unless they have been elected in free and fair elections.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      I wonder in what periodicals Mo Bro sees these “rabid” defenses of Mao, the Castros et al. They must be far to the left of anything I’ve ever seen.

      For instance, I’ve been reading The Nation magazine off & on since the ’80s and I’ve never seen anything like that. Oh, occasionally they still delve into soporific history such as, did so-and-so American communist in the 1930s – usually some future pro-Reagan “neoconservative” – really give up on Stalin in 1937 or did he actually wait until (gasp) 1939. Stuff like that. Or they’ll drone on & on & on about the Rosenbergs (zzzzzzzz). But I know for sure I’ve never seen a defense – never mind a “rabid” defense – of Mao Zedong in there. Maybe a “defense” of Hugo Chavez that notes he was indeed elected (sort of like, you know, Trump… well sort of).

      Anyway, Mo Bro must subscribe to some really far-left publications?

  • Heywood Jablowme

    Chechnya has oil deposits, so I’m sure Rex Tillerson has heard of the place.

    • Hussain-TheCanadian

      Are you kidding?? Are you calling Putin and his government socialists?

      As a Socialist myself, I can tell you you have no idea of what you are talking about little boy; I dont know what University or college you’re in, but I urge you to visit their library.

    • Hussain-TheCanadian

      Sorry Heywood I didn’t mean to reply to your post, You’re correct though about Chechen oil and mineral deposits.

  • DCguy

    Do you see the desperation of Mo Bro to do anything he can to defend Putin? Chechnya is a Russian state, controlled by the Putin govt. Mo Bro wants to change the topic, why? Because the anti-lgbt Trump Trolls aren’t just anti-lgbt, their anti-American and Pro Russia.

    • Mo Bro

      I’m certainly not pro-Russian, but if it makes you feels morally and intellectually superior to think I am, then I’m happy to feed you delusions and fantasies. So sure, whatever . . . in fact, how do you know I’m not actually a mole for the Kremlin sent to infiltrate the lgb community which so threatens freedom and democracy for all good Russkies? (first clue: Russians are leftist. Communists. Socialists. Not exactly the heroes of the American right).

    • Hussain-TheCanadian

      @ Mo Bro – Are you kidding?? Are you calling Putin and his government socialists?

      As a Socialist myself, I can tell you you have no idea of what you are talking about little boy; I dont know what University or college you’re in, but I urge you to visit their library.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      @Mo Bro: Russians are “leftist”?

      Putin’s party, the United Russia party, by far the largest party in the Duma, is self-described “Russian Conservative.” Rabidly (there’s that word again) pro-religious, unlike the old-time atheist communists. Pro-plutocrat. Described generally as a “rightist” or “right-wing” party in literally every reference I find.

      You sound like those fools who think Hitler was a “socialist” because his party was named the National Socialists.

  • Neonegro

    Which part of human rights issues in other countries WILL NOT be a priority of this administration do you people not understand.

    There are other more important issues when it comes to foreign policy.

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