Dozens of LGBT Atlantans rallied against a brutal crackdown on gay men in Chechnya, hosting a candlelight vigil in Midtown on Tuesday.
The event in the parking lot outside Ten is part of an international reaction to reports that authorities in the Russian republic are capturing, torturing and sometimes killing men suspected of being gay. Vigils are being held in cities across the globe and Amnesty International launched a petition calling for an investigation.
The Atlanta event came after a published report on April 1 that said Chechen authorities were behind the disappearance of several gay men. Additional media reports have said more than 100 gay men are being held in a detention center near the town of Argun.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, called on Chechen authorities to investigate the allegations and take steps to prevent more abuse in a statement issued Monday.
We continue to be disturbed by reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation and those persecuted by association. 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.
We are against all forms of discrimination, including against people based on sexual orientation. When left unchecked, discrimination and human rights abuses can lead to destabilization and conflict.
Chechen authorities have responded by saying there are no gay men in the country.
Photos by Russ Youngblood