Washington (October 5, 2017) - A bipartisan resolution (S.Res.211) introduced by U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) condemning Chechen officials’ torture, murder, and call for so-called “honor killings” of men who are, or are suspected of being, gay was unanimously passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today.
According to 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, stating “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.” Chechnya, which is a region within Russia, continues its anti-gay purge while being defended by Vladimir Putin and Russian officials.
Senator Toomey and Senator Markey’s resolution calls for an immediate end to the persecution and calls on Chechnya and Russia to investigate the violence, punish the perpetrators, and protect the human rights of all citizens. The resolution, which is co-sponsored by 44 Republican and Democratic senators, now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
“The ‘honor killings’ in Chechnya of individuals who are or are perceived to be gay are not only abhorrent, but they are serious human rights violations,” said Senator Toomey. “This situation is unacceptable and Russia must act to protect the human rights of all its citizens. I appreciate Senator Markey’s support of this resolution and Chairman Corker and Ranking Member Cardin moving quickly to approve it at the committee level. I hope the entire Senate approves this bill in short order.”
“The American people stand united with Chechnya’s LGBTQ community, who are suffering cruel and murderous treatment at the hands of Chechen officials who govern under the authority of Russia,” said Senator Markey. “I am proud to co-sponsor this important legislation with Senator Toomey, and will continue to work for full passage in the Senate. It is critical that we persistently call for an end to these inhumane actions and demand accountability for denial of basic human rights to anyone for their sexual orientation.”