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First Gay Chechen Refugee Arrives Safely in France

AP Photo/Francois Mori

A Chechen gay man has safely escaped Russia and crossed the French border, according to Joël Deumier, president of the LGBTQ organization SOS Homophobie. "The first gay Chechen refugee arrived on French land," he told FranceInfo. “So France has started to welcome Chechen refugees. This is going to continue."

SOS Homophobie has been helping persecuted Chechen homosexuals apply for visas to escape their violent home country, where at least one hundred gay men have been detained and sent to concentration camps; four have reportedly been murdered, as well.

In response to reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin was investigating the genocide, Deumier said, “Mr. Putin has said that he has started an investigation, that it is not true, that there is no violence or murder of gay people. That’s completely false. We have concrete proof. We can no longer accept this discourse of denial from Russia against gay people.”

Related | GLAAD Demands Donald Trump Condemn LGBTQ Attacks in Chechnya

BuzzFeed reports that the US hasn't offered any travel visas to endangered Chechen men. While the Trump administration has not outwardly denied any visas as of yet, a spokesperson for the Russian LGBT Network said, "We were informed there was no political will. [The US is] not going to provide visas. They’re going to support us in other ways, but not with visas."

This inaction comes after Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, said that “if true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored."

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