Grassroots activists held a rally at the United Nations Headquarters in New York last weekend to demand an investigation into the mass murder of gay men in Chechyna.
The group gathered at Ralph Bunche Park on First Avenue to put pressure on UN officials to take action in the Russian republic where leader Ramzan Kadyrov has vowed to “eliminate” all gay men in the region before Ramadan, establishing concentration camps to force homosexuals to leave.
The rally then moved to Bryant Park where flyers were handed to the public to spread awareness.
Hundreds of gay men have been reported to have been abducted, detained and tortured in Chechnya. Last week, reports emerged that an unnamed gay teenager was pushed off a balcony on the ninth floor of a building by his uncle after Chechnyan officials told people to kill gay family members to “wash clean their honor.”
“This is genocide. We cannot stand silent while others fall, regardless of where they are in the world,” said Vincent Cinque, a Brooklynite who organized the action in New York.
“It’s horrifying that a government is doing this to its own people, which is leaving them particularly helpless, especially in a republic like Chechnya where the world has quite a hands-off approach. It makes me wonder who will stand up for these men,” he adds.
Donald Trump has yet to make a public statement on the issue, but President Vladimir Putin said he will intervene over the reports after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an investigation.
Russia has its own troubling record on LGBTQ rights. On May 1, 20 gay rights activists were detained by the Russian police after they held a demonstration demanding action in Chechyna at a May Day parade in St Petersburg.
Going forward, Cinque encouraged people to donate to Rainbow Railroad, a non-for-profit organization that is trying to free gay and bisexual men in Chechnya and provide them with asylum in Canada.
He also hopes to network with other resistance groups and push the mainstream media to report on the events.
“I’m green when it comes to a lot of politics so I want to hear from lawyers, I want to hear from the military, I want to hear from politicians; activists. I want a brainstorm. I want a solidified group of people dedicated to saving these lives,” Cinque says.