US Denies Visas to Gay Chechen Men Fleeing Persecution

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Chechnya is a semi-autonomous republic within Russian Federation, and the 40 refugees want to flee the country altogether - but the United States is reportedly refusing to deny them entry.

On April 1, Russia's Novaya Gazeta daily raised the issue of gay people's civil rights being violated in Chechnya.

Amid the worldwide LGBT outcry against Chechnya's barbaric persecution of queer people, reports reveal that gay Russians fleeing the country have applied for and been denied American visas.

According to BuzzFeed News, only two men have secured visas to safe countries, and cited that a group of about 40 are in hiding in various parts of Russian Federation in hopes of avoiding violence.

The United States has declined visas to gay Chechens fleeing a wave of kidnappings, torture, and disappearances in the semi-autonomous Russian region, according to the organization Russia LGBT Network.

"You can not arrest or repress people who just don't exist in the republic".

The US State Department has told The Independent that it will not confirm or deny the report, as visa records are confidential.

In April, the world was shocked at the revelation of "concentration camps" for LGBT people in Chechnya. "At least three men apparently have died since this brutal campaign began", the statement says.

"The United States continues to be concerned about the situation in the Republic of Chechnya, where credible reports indicate at least 100 men have been detained on the basis of their sexual orientation", the State Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

While the reports drew widespread condemnation, including sharp rebuke from U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, the White House was conspicuously quiet on the matter.

On May 5, Moskalkova informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that she had been tackling violations of LGBT people's rights and asked him to issue instructions on setting up an inter-agency working group that would be active in Central Russia instead of Chechnya and receive people's requests if any were made.

Read the full story here.