Joe Biden condemns gay ‘concentration camps’ in Chechnya

Former Vice President Joe Biden Shutterstock

Former Vice President Joe Biden condemned reports about gay men being arrested and held in detention sites in Chechnya on Friday.

Biden said that he was “disgusted and appalled by reports from both the Russian media and non-governmental organizations that authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya have rounded up, tortured, and even murdered individuals who are believed to be gay.”

Saying that “Every man or woman on this earth is entitled to be treated with dignity,” Biden also had a few words for Donald Trump: “I hope that the current administration lives up to the promises it has made to advance human rights for everyone by raising this issue directly with Russia‘s leaders.”

The full statement is below.

The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported earlier this month on the detention sites using testimony from gay people. Many of the people sent to the sites were arrested in sweeps where a law enforcement official would pose as a gay person looking for sex online.

A spokesperson for Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov responded earlier this week, “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic.”

A spokesperson for Russian president Vladimir Putin who at first said he could not confirm the reports because “I’m not an expert in the field of non-traditional sexual orientation.”

Both the U.S. State Department and the United Nations have deemed the reports credible enough to respond to. Also, the Russian office of Amnesty International on Friday called on authorities to investigate human rights violations in Chechnya, which is a Muslim-majority nation.

But the White House itself has yet to publicly respond.

Biden currently oversees the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.

I am disgusted and appalled by reports from both the Russian media and non-governmental organizations that authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya have rounded up, tortured, and even murdered individuals who are believed to be gay. When faced with such crimes of hate and inhumanity, it is the responsibility of every person of conscience to speak out — to oppose this campaign of violence before it continues further.

Every man or woman on this earth is entitled to be treated with dignity — to live without fear and to love freely. Unfortunately, the human rights abuses perpetrated by Chechen authorities and the culture of impunity that surrounds them means that these hate crimes are unlikely to ever be properly investigated or that the perpetrators will see justice. But that does not mean that we should fail to defend basic human rights, fundamental freedoms, and universal values.

I hope that the current administration lives up to the promises it has made to advance human rights for everyone by raising this issue directly with Russia’s leaders. The United States must lead the way to demand an end to these egregious violations of human rights.

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