During assembly on Monday, May 22, Harley King '19 spoke for the Current Events Club about current human rights violations in Chechnya. Harley's remarks follow:
As some of you may have heard, there is currently a human rights crisis occurring in Chechnya. Chechnya is a republic within Russia that has similar rights to what a state in the USA has, in that its laws can be overridden by Russia. What is taking place there is that gay and bisexual men are being detained and put into concentration camps by Chechen authorities. One of the early accounts of such camps was a gay man who had been talking to another gay man online, and, when he went to meet the person at a bar, he was met with Chechen security agents who beat him, kidnapped him, strapped him to a chair and shocked him with electrical wires in order to get him to tell them where other gay men lived, according to the New York Times. So far at least 100 gay men have been arrested and three killed in roundup. Another man died by succumbing to the torture, and two more died by “honor killings” when returned to their relatives. The agents told the parents of said men, upon returning them, that their son was gay, and told one father that if he had any honor, he would kill his son.
When questioned about this incident, Ramzan Kadryov, the leader of Chechnya, responded by denying that there are any gay people living in Chechnya. In Moscow, five LGBT+ activists were arrested trying to deliver a petition calling for investigation into these allegations. Over 2 million people had signed this petition.
Last week, former vice president Joe Biden weighed in on this issue, stating that “Americans must stand with LGBT people around the world.” Unfortunately, he did not propose a plan to help, and no other major politicians have voiced their opinions. If you wish to help, the best thing to do right now is to donate to Rainbow Railroad, which is an organization working with Russian human rights and LGBT groups to evacuate gay people out of Chechnya. If you want to donate I also suggest checking out my Red Bubble store, since I am raising money by selling T Shirts. ... All proceeds I make on that store will go to Rainbow Railroad for the whole summer. My store is just called HarleyKing, so it’s easy to remember. Please consider buying a shirt or making a donation so we can raise awareness and help this massive human rights violation. It could save a life. Thank you.