"Those Who Do Not Exist"
Today the leader of the free world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, publicly pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin to put an end to the horrific persecution of gay people in Chechnya.
According to reports by Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, hundreds of gay men have been detained and tortured in recent months by Chechen authorities. Elena Milashina, the reporter who broke that story, is now in hiding.
The government is also reportedly telling the families of gay Chechens to commit honor killings, saying "either you do it or we will."
When asked by a reporter about the alleged human rights abuses, Chechen spokesperson Alvi Karimov chillingly replied: "There are no homosexuals in Chechnya. You cannot detain and persecute those who do not exist."
How to help Chechnya's LGBT community
Learn more about the anti-gay attacks in Chechnya.
Sign the Amnesty International petition.
Appeal to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (202.647.6575) and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) to pressure the Putin government to stop the persecution of LGBT citizens.
Support the Russian LGBT Network and the Canada-based Rainbow Railroad, two non-governmental organizations that are working together to build an underground network to shuttle gay people out of Chechnya and to safety. (*Thanks Dan Savage for the tip!)
*Soon we'll also connect you with planned protests at Russian embassies and consulates in the United States and around the world.