LOS ANGELES — Three Los Angeles City Council members and Rep. Adam Schiff spoke out against alleged human rights abuses occurring in Chechnya against gay men May 12.
“As the vice chair of the congressional LGBT caucus, I call on our secretary of state and our U.N. ambassador to mobilize the international community to condemn this violence, to properly investigate these crimes and to bring these perpetrators to justice,” Schiff, D-Burbank, said at a news conference in front of Los Angeles City Hall East.
According to Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, over a hundred men suspected of being gay have been abducted, tortured and some even killed in Chechnya, a republic of Russia.
While United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has spoken out against the alleged abuses in Chechnya, President Donald Trump has not mentioned it publicly.
“We are here as a call to action to enlist the support of allies in the fight against human rights abuses in Chechnya, and for that matter, anywhere else that they may exist,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said “The Trump administration must act and act now.”
O’Farrell and his fellow City Council members Mike Bonin and Paul Koretz also introduced a resolution at the City Council meeting calling on the Trump administration and the State Department to sanction Chechnya and Russian over the alleged abuses.
“When you look at the news stories, you see terms that look like they are from another decade, another time, terms like ‘concentration camp,’ ‘torture,’” Bonin said.
“You read about families being encouraged to kill their own children before the government does. You read about horrible atrocities.”
Koretz, who said he lost relatives in the Holocaust, also spoke about being bewildered at hearing the term “concentration camp” used in the modern world.
“This is something we can help with even by doing what we are doing today, because the concentration camps existed for a lengthy period of time before anyone ever heard anything about it,” Koretz said.
“And it is true that in this country and throughout the world, there are very few people who aren’t aware of what’s going on. While at a minimum we can shine a light on that and change it.”