Make Two Calls for the LGBTQ Community in Chechnya

The world has been horrified by recent reports of gay men in Chechnya being rounded up, tortured and killed. Recent reports say Chechnya is trying to eliminate its gay population by the start of Ramadan (May 26th). New Jersey has several members of Congress who can do something about it — call them today!

Call your senators
(202) 224-4744 Sen. Menendez
(202) 224-3224 Sen. Booker
Call Rep. Smith (R-4)

(609) 585-7878 NJ Office
(202) 225-3765 DC Office

Call Rep. Sires
(908) 820-0692 Elizabeth Office
(201) 309-0301 Jersey City Office
(201) 558-0800 West New York Office
(202) 225-7919 Washington DC Office

Terrifying reports of concentration camps and human rights violations against gay men in Chechnya seem far away and hard to stop. However, we here in New Jersey have the unique opportunity to pressure several members of Congress who serve on committees that could address the situation. This means we also have a unique responsibility to do so. Many people in other states have no representatives on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or the House Foreign Affairs Committee–but we do, and we must take action for all.

Both of New Jersey’s senators are on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Menendez is actually the ranking member of the subcommittee that covers human rights! Rep. Chris Smith  (R-4) and Albio Sires (D-8) are on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. 

Call your senators, and your House rep if you are in the 4th or 8th district, and urge them to:

  • support giving sanctuary in the US to LGBTQ people fleeing Chechnya.
  • press Russia to fully and promptly investigate what is happening, stop the detainment of gay men and protect the LGBTQ community (Russia has taken little action so far).
  • remind Russia of its human rights obligations to prohibit discrimination and prosecute hate crimes.

Not sure what district you’re in? Find out here.

There are other actions you can take as well:

  • Take part in Amnesty International’s letter-writing campaign to Russian officials and diplomats by May 16th. Details and addresses are available on the pdf found here.
  • Contact the State Department and urge them to build international momentum to pressure Russia, and to give asylum in the US to LGBTQ people fleeing Chechnya. You can send an email here, or call the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at 202-647-4000.
  • Contact Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, who last month spoke out against the situation in Chechnya after being pressured by LGBTQ activists. Send an email here, or call (212) 415-4000.