WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statements on reports of the unlawful detention and torture of LGBT persons in Chechnya:

“I am disgusted by the reports that Chechen authorities are unlawfully detaining, torturing, and possibly killing large numbers of gay men. There have also been reports of LGBT persons fleeing Chechnya in search of sanctuary from persecution. I strongly condemn these human rights violations and those responsible.

“Such persecution often indicates a broader crack down on human rights and civil society.  I call on Russian authorities to respect and promote the dignity of all persons and provide safe haven to all those fleeing for safety, and I hope Secretary Tillerson makes LGBT persecution and human rights a top priority in his next conversations with Moscow. As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, ‘Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.’ We must continue to work hard so that this conviction is reflected in our policies at home and that we also advance this basic human right abroad.”