A bipartisan majority of 27 Washington state senators today introduced a resolution urging peaceable action on the part of diplomatic bodies of the federal government in collaboration with the international community on behalf of victims of homophobic persecution in Chechnya.

“There are reports of 100 or more gay and bisexual men having been abducted and detained at a de facto concentration camp, where many have been beaten, tortured and even killed, and yet many people in our country and around the world are not even aware this is happening,” said Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood and the prime sponsor of the resolution. “If there is any hope of providing relief to those being persecuted and tortured, we must stop standing on the sidelines and work energetically to raise awareness and marshal global pressure.”

Senate Joint Resolution 8012 urges diplomatic bodies and others to advocate to end state-sanctioned detention of and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, and to provide asylum to LGBT individuals who seek safety.

“Chechnya’s blatant violation of international human rights law is being carried out with the consent of the head of the Chechen government, Ramzan Kadyrov, who denies the very existence of LGBT people in Chechnya,” Liias said. “Chechen officials have denied these reports and made statements to incite hatred based on sexual orientation or gender identity and to encourage violence against LGBT individuals by their neighbors and even their very families.”

The Russian government, during this time, has declined to publicly condemn the actions and has suggested that official complaints of abuse be filed with the same authorities responsible for promoting the violence.

“It is the moral obligation of the United States to ‘work aggressively to advance human rights for everyone,’ in the words of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at his confirmation hearing,” Liias said. “It’s time to back up those words with action.”

The resolution is addressed to the President of the United States, the Secretary of State of the United States, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.