LANSING — A resolution introduced by state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) condemning the abuse and torture of gay men in the Chechen Republic of Russia passed the House today with a voice vote. The resolution — which also passed committee unanimously — calls on the International Criminal Court to conduct an independent investigation of the reports coming out of the region that the government is guilty of a number of human rights violations.
“What is happening is absolutely horrific,” said Rep. Hoadley. “While we’ve seen progress in the fight for LGBT equality — both at home and abroad — we cannot let that progress make us complacent. Every human being has the right to be free from abuse, particularly by their government. It is our responsibility to stand up and fight this.”
House Resolution 79 calls not only for an investigation, but for the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the President to join in supporting the measure. The Chechen government has been accused not only of committing violent acts itself, but promoting and supporting independent attacks by family members in so-called “honor killings.”
“Hearing the details of the abuse — with human beings rounded up and thrown into torture camps — ought to move us all to action,” said Rep. Tim Sneller (D-Burton). “We have a responsibility as a nation to take a stand and demand accountability on an international level. Launching an independent investigation is the first step in putting an end to this nightmare.”
“The reports of concentration camps in Chechnya should cause all of us to reflect on the ugliest crimes in world history,” said Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield). “Those who ignore this history are doomed to repeat it. Our country must act swiftly to prevent the escalation of violence against gay men. I hope our federal officials join us in our declaration of condemnation and urge the International Criminal Court to act.”