The White House could not confirm today if US President Donald Trump has even been briefed on the attacks on gay men in Chechnya.
Last month news emerged of gay and bi men, including men who are believed to be gay, are being detained in concentration camps.
At least 200 men are being held, and at least four have been killed so far. It has also emerged authorities are allegedly telling parents of gay men to ‘sort it out’ or the state will intervene.
GLAAD has been calling on Trump for more than two weeks to condemn the attacks. So far, the only official words of condemnation have come from UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
‘It is shocking that the White House can’t even confirm if President Trump is “aware” of the anti-LGBTQ violence in Chechnya. It seems President Trump is only aware of news that includes his own name,’ GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a blistering statement.
‘If President Trump doesn’t join Ambassador Haley and other world leaders in condemning this humanitarian crisis, it is only further evidence that his Administration is working to force LGBTQ people around the globe back into the closet.’
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked during a press briefing why the reported incidents of violence in Chechnya against people in the LGBTI community were not included in a statement about Trump’s meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
When asked by The Washington Blade if Trump had been briefed on this issue even in general Sanders said: ‘I am not one hundred present sure.’
British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden are among those who have condemned the violence in Chechnya.