California Legislature Condemns Anti-LGBT Violence in Chechnya

Monday, September 11, 2017

SACRAMENTO—The California State Legislature adopted Assembly Joint Resolution 16 today  urging 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). The resolution is sponsored by Equality California.

“LGBT Chechens are being attacked because of who they are and who they love. We must take action now to condemn the human rights abuses, assist those fleeing persecution, and prevent further violence,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.

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. Several human rights groups have condemned the disappearances and urged Congress to grant asylum to those fleeing persecution. In April, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that these human rights violations “cannot be ignored.” 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.

“California has the world’s strongest legal protections in place for LGBTQ people and occupies a larger place than most states on the international stage,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “It is our responsibility to use our prominence as a beacon of hope as parts of the world slide into authoritarianism and bigotry. We’re proud of Assemblymembers Low and Cunningham for making California a global voice for human rights.”

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