By Rebecca Colnes
U.N. officials are requesting that Russian authorities investigate the abuse of gay men in Chechnya, according to TIME.
Chechen authorities arrested more than a hundred men suspected of being homoesexual and had some of these men killed, according to the same source. At least three have been killed thus far.
These men are being sent to secret prisons described as “concentration camps.” Many of the men have been reportedly beaten and tortured with electric shocks, The Washington Blade reported.
According to the same source, the U.S. State Department has advised the Russian government to speak out, conduct an investigation and ensure the safety of those detained.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the U.S. is incredibly disturbed by this news, The Huffington Post reported.
“If true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored ? Chechen authorities must immediately investigate these allegations, hold anyone involved accountable and take steps to prevent future abuses,” Haley said, according to The Huffington Post.
The same source reported that LGBTQ+ advocates have praised Haley for her stance on the matter.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland described the situation as “reprehensible” and encourages the Russian government to “preserve the safety of all persons in Chechnya due to their sexual orientation,” according to The Washington Blade.
According to the same source, former Vice President Joe Biden is “disgusted and appalled” by the incident in Chechnya.
Israeli LGBTQ+ rights advocates held a meeting to discuss ways to help, while the Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans Association urged the U.N. to investigate the allegations, according to The Washington Blade.
Vigils were held in Atlanta for the victims of the incident, according to The Georgia Voice.
CNN spoke to a man who wished to remain anonymous and recently fled after being arrested. “My car got stopped at a Chechen police checkpoint and they asked me for my documents,” he said.
Another man told CNN the story of his abuse. At a safe house, he said, “They started beating me with their fists and feet. They wanted to get names of my gay friends from me.”
He said the men also electrocuted him with “special equipment,” CNN reported.
According to the same source, “security forces have consistently been accused by human rights groups of abductions, killings and other abuses” in Chechnya.
The primary concern of the men who spoke to CNN was being outed as gay.
“If my family finds out that I’m gay, then no authorities, no troops are needed. They will kill me themselves,” one man said, according to CNN.