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Nikki Haley condemns persecution of gay men in Chechnya

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on Monday condemned reports of police in Chechnya torturing and killing men suspected of being gay or bisexual.

"We continue to be disturbed by reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation and those persecuted by association," Haley said in a statement. "If true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored – Chechen authorities must immediately investigate these allegations, hold anyone involved accountable, and take steps to prevent future abuses."

"We are against all forms of discrimination, including against people based on sexual orientation. When left unchecked, discrimination and human rights abuses can lead to destabilization and conflict."

"Tomorrow, the United States will lead a first-ever meeting on human rights in international conflicts in the UN Security Council to underscore our commitment to addressing human rights abuses wherever they threaten international peace and security," she added.

Russian newspaper Novaya Gaceta broke the story, reporting earlier this month that more than 100 men have been detained and three killed in the anti-gay campaign, including several well-known local television personalities and religious figures.

According to NBC News, the paper's website was attacked last week and the newspaper reported that it had been threatened by Chechen leaders.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied the reports, saying that he does "not have any reliable information about any problems" in Chechnya, a Muslim-majority republic of Russia.

(Related: Vladimir Putin says he does not have "reliable information" on Chechnya gay persecution.)
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