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Sec. of State Rex Tillerson Didn’t Bring Up Chechnya’s Gay Purge in Meetings with Russia

Sec. of State Rex Tillerson Didn’t Bring Up Chechnya’s Gay Purge in Meetings with Russia

Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump, Russia, Chechnya, Secretary of State
Associated Press

“Those were on our pending list.” 

During recent meetings with Russian officials over the past weeks, Secretary of State admitted during a senate hearing that he has not brought up the reported gay purge being perpetrated by the Chechen government.

U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) brought up the issue while questioning Tillerson. "You are aware that the Chechen government, which is an arm of Vladimir Putin, has been engaged in a concerted campaign of kidnapping, detention, torture, and murder of gay men in Chechnya," he asked.

"I am aware of those reports, yes," said Tillerson.

"Did you discuss the issue of these atrocities when you met with foreign minister Lavrov on May 10, or any other government officials at any other time" asked Cicilline.

Related | CNN Interviews Gay Men Tortured In Chechnya

"Those were on our pending list," said Tillerson. "We did not make it through all of the issues in the meetings we had."

Tillerson also said that he was unaware if Donald Trump had brought up the repeatedly reported attacks on the gay community in Chechnya, to which he replied he was "unaware."

Related | 40 Gay Men Have Been Rescued From Chechnya's Concentration Camps

"Will you here today, in this hearing, condemn the torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya, and state that it is the policy of the United States government at its highest levels, that the Russian government must protect the lives and safety of its citizens, including the LGBT community?" Cicilline asked.

"That is our position globally," Tillerson said, and even conceded a "yes" when pressed by Cicilline if that specifically includes Russia. Watch the exchange, below.

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