The Trump administration did not join several countries in signing a joint letter to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council calling for an investigation into the ongoing LGBTI crisis in Chechnya.
Thirty-two countries delivered the letter to the 40th session of the Human Rights Council, located in Geneva, Switzerland.
In the letter, they explain their ‘deep concern about recent reports concerning the renewed persecution of LGBTI persons in Chechnya’.
They refer to the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. This documents declares human rights as universal. It also calls on states to take action on issues like torture and other human rights violations.
‘Today, we call on the Russian authorities to take urgent action in response to these renewed reports of violations of the human rights of LGBTI persons in Chechnya,’ the letter reads.
‘All persons who remain in detention based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity must be released immediately.
‘There must also be a swift, thorough and impartial investigation into the alleged persecution, arrest and torture of LGBTI persons, and any deaths that have resulted. Those who have directed and carried out these acts must be held responsible.’
What about support from the US?
One of the countries conspicuously missing from the letter is the United States.
‘The Trump-Pence administration has once again shamefully chosen to not speak out against the barbaric, anti-LGBTQ attacks occurring in Chechyna,’ said Human Rights Campaign Global Director Ty Cobb.
‘It’s unconscionable that the United States is not joining with these more than 30 nations in publicly condemning these Chechen anti-LGBTQ crimes against humanity and calling for those responsible to be held accountable. The absolute failure of human rights leadership from this White House is staggering.’
In October 2017, the US Senate condemned the atrocities in Chechnya.
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly wrote a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the situation in Chechnya. That letter, however, was never made public.
Neither Donald Trump nor Mike Pence has ever spoken publicly about Chechnya.
Hostility towards human rights
Earlier this week, the ACLU delivered harsh criticism of the US to the UN Human Rights Council.
Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s human rights program, noted 22 requests from UN rapporteurs have gone unanswered by the US.
In their statement, the ACLU wrote ‘the Trump administration has escalated its hostility toward human rights bodies including the apparent severing of relationships with independent experts appointed to monitor and report on human rights violations’.
It continued: ‘These issues raise serious concerns regarding the U.S. commitment to human rights and the international rule of law.’
In June 2018, the US withdrew from the Human Rights Council.
The ACLU’s letter also noted wanting to have a record of the US’ actions towards human rights. In conclusion, they called on Congress to look into it.
As well as using our investigative journalism to keep you informed about what’s happening on-the-ground as it happens; we’re inviting you to make a difference today by donating to the Chechyna Crisis Appeal.
Every dollar, euro and pound you give will help evacuate LGBTI people in the most danger. And to pressure the Chechen authorities to stop this persecution.
Please also share our appeal with your followers, friends and family; ensuring we raise awareness and apply pressure to permanently end this abuse.