Nikki Haley: America will not ignore anti-gay actions in Chechnya

"When left unchecked, discrimination and human rights abuses can lead to destabilization and conflict", she said.

Chechen strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied Wednesday that any homosexuals have been arrested in his Russian Caucasus republic, dismissing media reports about alleged abuse of gays.

"My vehicle got stopped at a Chechen police checkpoint and they asked me for my documents", said the man, who asked to be identified as "Ahmed".

The Chechen crisis came to light in early April, after independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an expose revealing the location of a secret detention center that some US media later referred to as a "gay concentration camp".

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While casual homophobia is common in Russian Federation, the problem is particularly acute in conservative Chechnya, where homosexuality is taboo and seen in many families as a moral failing that should be punished by death.

Several organizations, as well as the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, said earlier this month that police in the Russian republic are running a secret prison where men believed to be gay are being kept and tortured. In the reports, residents say that beginning in February of this year, government officials began arresting and rounding up men suspected of homosexuality, sending them to a military camp, torturing and even killing them.

Senator Ben Cardin said he was "gravely concerned" about threats facing gays in the northern Caucasus region. The report suggested at least three, if not more, had been killed. "It's said there have been what are called arrests, murders, (newspapers) have even given the name" of one victim, he said.

"A comprehensive global response to the situation in Chechnya is crucial to asserting the worldwide community's values and advancing human rights", wrote Massimino. Almost 20 people at risk have already moved to Moscow, she told AFP. Reports say that as many as 20 have been killed at the camp, while many others remain there under cruel conditions.

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley spoke out late Monday afternoon against a reported anti-LGBTQ campaign in Chechnya.

"Chechnya officials are kidnapping and torturing gay men".

The state-run Russian news agency RIA reported on April 17 that regional prosecutors in Chechnya will investigate the reports of persecution of gay people.

Lokshina of Human Rights Watch countered that "imagining people coming forward with information without getting any effective protection, any security guarantee, is just impossible".

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The Novaya Gazeta reporter Irina Gordiyenko, one of the journalists who broke the story, has received a death threat from Chechnya's chief mufti over her investigation.

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