Toomey-led Chechnya resolution passes Senate

A resolution condemning antigay violence in Chechnya, which was led in part by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania, was unanimously approved this week. 

The resolution calls on Chechen officials to cease the “abduction, detention and torture of individuals on the basis of their actual or suspected sexual orientation,” and to hold those who have committed such acts accountable. It also calls on the U.S. government to condemn such acts of violence.

More than 100 men are reported to have been detained in Chechnya on suspicion of homosexuality. At least 20 men are believed to have been murdered. Chechen officials have also reportedly urged the families of gay and bisexual men to kill such family members.

Outwardly, however, officials have denied such campaigns, even refusing to acknowledge that LGBT people exist in the country.

Toomey’s resolution, which he introduced with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), advanced out of committee earlier this fall. A companion resolution in the House was approved this past summer. 

President Donald Trump has yet to publicly condemn the Chechen violence.

“With unanimous passage of this resolution, the U.S. Senate just sent a powerful message,” said Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Globa. “Despite the deafening silence from the White House, the people of the United States strongly condemn these anti-LGBTQ attacks in Chechnya.” 

Cobb went on to urge Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to address the issue.

“Members of both parties in both chambers have now condemned the anti-LGBTQ Chechen violence and persecution, and it’s far past time that President Trump and Secretary Tillerson also publicly do so. Given the growing violence and arrests of LGBTQ people around the world, the United States must not back away from leading on LGBTQ human rights.”