California Assembly Condemns Anti-LGBT Violence in Chechnya

Monday, June 26, 2017

SACRAMENTO—The California Assembly passed Assembly Joint Resolution 16 today to urge President Trump and Congress to condemn the government-sanctioned persecution, torture, and murder of gay men in the Chechen Republic. More than 100 gay or suspected-gay men have been held and tortured in the region. AJR 16 is a bipartisan measure authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, and Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton).

“We are all deeply disturbed by the reports of abuse, kidnapping and murder of LGBT people living in Chechnya,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus. “Violence against one of us is violence against us all. We must take action immediately to condemn this horrific abuse.” 

According to Human Rights Watch, hundreds of men have been kidnapped and tortured and three of these men have died at the hands of the Chechen police. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov disregarded the reports and claimed gay people do not exist in the state. Several human rights groups have condemned the disappearances and urged Congress to grant asylum to those fleeing persecution. Assembly Joint Resolution 16 adds California’s voice to the international outcry.

AJR 16 urges President Trump and Congress to condemn the government-sanctioned persecution, torture, and murder of gay men in the Chechen Republic and joins in solidarity with all LGBT Russians in their fight for their lives, dignity and respect. The resolution also asks Congress and President Trump to take action to encourage the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant asylum and refugee status for people fleeing persecution due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“The United States must condemn in no uncertain terms and put the full force of our diplomatic efforts to end the horrific treatment and killing of gay men in Chechnya,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “1930s Germany, 1970s Argentina and so many other examples over the past century show us where this type of persecution can lead. It is incumbent upon each of us, especially those of us fortunate to live in places like California, with strong civil rights protections for LGBTQ people, to fight for those who are unable to fight for themselves.” 

“We need to take a stand against state-sponsored persecution and send a unified message to the global community that violating basic human rights must not be tolerated. I am proud to work in a bi-partisan fashion to encourage our national leaders to speak out, investigate allegations of violence against the LGBT community, and take steps to prevent future abuses.” said Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton).

The resolution passed with unanimous support.

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