Land of the free, home of the brave? Not so fast. The United States government has been caught denying visas to gay Chechens fleeing hate crimes according to the Russia LGBT network.
J. Lester Feder for Buzzfeed reports:
“A group of around 40 Chechens are now in hiding in other parts of Russia, Russia LGBT Network spokesperson Svetlana Zakharova told BuzzFeed News, and are having difficulty securing visas that would allow them to flee the country.
Since the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta first reported the abuse of dozens of gay Chechens in April, just two have managed to secure visas to safe countries despite the European Union and the United States expressing concern about the allegations, Zakharova said. A handful of gay Chechens have fled without visas because they believed the danger of staying in Russia was too great.
A US State Department spokesperson said in a statement provided on background that the department could not comment on the visa denials: ‘As visa records are confidential under U.S. law, we are unable to discuss individual cases.'”
According to the report, Zakharova described the negotiation process to aid victims of physical abuse as “difficult,” while also revealing she received an email that confirmed that “the US is not going to issue visas for people from Chechnya, while refusing to name the other countries she was working to obtain visas from.
The process has left Chechens looking for safety, more scared than ever under this abusive regime; its leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has allegedly had his critics hunted down both in and out of Russia. In fact, several reporters who have broken the story fled the country to save their lives after the tyrant called them “enemies of our faith and of our country” last month.
It’s not as if the United States government is totally blind or unaware of what’s happening either; US ambassador Nikki Haley condemned the reports in an official statement to the UN:
“If true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored.”
And while a spokesperson to the UN State Department echoed their alleged concern for the situation, actions speak louder than words. In the past, the United States turned their backs on refugees fleeing persecution; you’d think there would be an eagerness to right a very serious wrong. It’s sad when history repeats itself at the expense of human lives.