“This government should demand an end to persecution”
On Thursday, Hillary Clinton came out swinging against President Donald Trump and his silence over the alleged violence against LGBTQ people in Chechnya.
In early April, reports emerged claiming that hundreds of gay men may had been rounded up, arrested, and systematically tortured by local police in Chechnya, a federal subject of Russia.
“There has been a very strong outcry in recent days across the North Caucasus because a Russia LGBT group has applied for permission to hold a gay parade in the cities across the North Caucasus,” Natalia Antelava, editor in chief of Coda Story, told PRI. “They were denied, of course, because gay parades are not allowed in Russia. But it seems to have resulted in this witch hunt on gay men.”
While the reports have yet to be confirmed, as any information coming out of the region is shared secondhand, the U.S. State Department issued a stern statement on the matter on April 5, saying in part, “We condemn violence against any individuals based on their sexual orientation or any other basis.” However, President Trump has stayed silent on the matter, and Clinton called him out on it while on stage Thursday night as she received the LGBT Center’s Trailblazer award in New York City.
"When government authorities were confronted with these reports, their response was chilling," Clinton said in her speech. "They said you cannot arrest or repress people who do not exist. The United States government —yes, this government—should demand an end to persecution of innocent people across the world."
Clinton additionally heavily criticized the Trump administration for their complete disregard, if not outright aggression, toward the transgender community and the protection against HIV/AIDs saying, "When this administration rescinded protections for transgender students, my heart broke. When I learned about the proposed cuts in funding for HIV and AIDS research, I thought about all of our efforts to try and achieve an AIDS-free generation."
Watch Clinton’s entire speech below.