Resolution Condemning Chechnya Violence Against Gay Men Clears California Assembly

Sacramento - June 26, 2017 – By a unanimous vote, the California Assembly has approved a resolution calling on Congress and the president to condemn violence against gay men in Chechnya. Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR 16), by Assemblymembers Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) and Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton) and sponsored by Equality California, also calls on the president to encourage immigration authorities to grant asylum and refugee status to LGBTQ people and others fleeing persecution.

"We are all deeply disturbed by the reports of abuse, kidnapping and murder of LGBT people living in Chechnya," said Low, 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."

"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," said Cunningham. "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."

"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."

After attempts to organize an LGBTQ pride event in April in the Chechen capital, Grozny, some 100 gay men were rounded up and arrested. Some of those allegedly detained say they were beaten and tortured at a detention center. Three men died. Rather than address the violence, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the existence of LGBTQ people in Chechnya, saying that their families would themselves murder them if they did exist.

AJR 16 now goes to the California Senate for approval.

Equality California is the nation's largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals.

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