U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley: U.S. "Disturbed" By Gay Purge In Chechnya

“When left unchecked, discrimination and human rights abuses can lead to destabilization and conflict.”

Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said the United States remains "disturbed" by reports of arrests, assaults and deaths of dozens of gay men in Chechnya.

"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,” Haley said in a statement. "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."

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 5: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley listens during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at U.N. headquarters, April 5, 2017 in New York City. The Security Council is holding emergency talks on Wednesday following one of the worst chemical attacks in Syria. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“We are against all forms of discrimination, including against people based on sexual orientation,” she added. “When left unchecked, discrimination and human rights abuses can lead to destabilization and conflict.”

haley revealed that, on Tuesday, the United States is leading a first-ever meeting on human rights in international conflicts in the UN Security Council, "to underscore our commitment to addressing human rights abuses wherever they threaten international peace and security.”

GLAAD praised Haley's statement as "the right step in speaking out against these blatant violations of human rights.”

"This is a powerful sign that the U.S. Mission to the United Nations will continue to prioritize LGBTQ acceptance and fight discrimination and human rights abuses around the world,” said GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis.

Reports of suspected homosexuals being detained in an ad hoc concentration camp located in an former army headquarters were first reported in Novaya Gazeta, and have been corroborated by the Russian LGBT Network and other human rights groups.

Officially, president Ramzan Kadyrov denies such atrocities, telling state news agency Interfax there are no gay people in Chechnya. “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic.”

Last week State Department spokesperson Mark Toner "increasingly concerned about the situation,” though neither Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not President Trump have commented publicly.

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