President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Chad Griffin, published an open letter on Wednesday during this weekend’s G20 Summit meeting, calling on President Donald Trump to address the alleged gay “concentration camps” in Chechnya .
In the letter, Griffin urged Trump to acknowledge the abuse men who have sex with men are allegedly facing in the Russian-controlled Chechnya during his upcoming in-person sit-down with Putin.
“It is imperative that you forcefully raise this issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin when you meet him in Germany at the G20 summit this week,” Griffin wrote in the letter. “I urge you to stand with the victims by calling on President Putin to take immediate action to bring the violence to an end and the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes to justice.”
Reports first began surfacing earlier this year that gay and bisexual men were being rounded up in Chechnya and forced into “concentration camps.” Later reports suggested that these men were being killed ― oftentimes at the hands of their own family members, urged by government officials.
The Russian LGBT Network claims to have saved at least 42 of these individuals from the borders of Chechnya.
While Trump has remained silent on the issue of alleged anti-gay abuse in Chechnya, other world leaders like Angela Merkel have called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in April that these human rights violations “cannot be ignored.”
A number of LGBTQ celebrities have also called for an end to the abuse gay and bisexual men are allegedly facing in Chechnya, including Ellen DeGeneres, Matt Bomer and Billy Eichner.