Trump urged to raise Chechnya abuse with Vladimir PutinHuman rights groups have repeatedly sounded the alarm about the rumoured crackdown on the gay community in Chechnya, an autonomous region of Russia.
The disturbing reports alleged that the men are being held in secret concentration camp-style prisons where they face torture and abuse.
European leaders Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have both raised the issue publicly during meetings with Vladimir Putin, and the UK government has also expressed concerns.
However, the US government has been deathly silent on the issue, with Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently admitting he didn’t bother to raise it during meetings with Russian officials.
Trump himself is set to sit down with President Putin this week at a G20 summit.
Ahead of the meeting, the leader has been urged to raise the issue of homophobic persecution.
Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, penned a letter to Trump on the issue.
He wrote: “The situation in the Russian republic of Chechnya continues to be extraordinarily dangerous for LGBTQ people.
“Since news first broke in April, we know that more than 100 gay and bisexual men have been arrested and detained without charge.
“While some have been set free, reports indicate that many remain in detention, where they have been beaten and tortured; at least three have been killed.”
Mr Griffin added: “It is imperative that you forcefully raise this issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin when you meet him in Germany at the G20 summit this week.
“I urge you to stand with the victims by calling on President Putin to take immediate action to bring the violence to an end and the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes to justice
“The U.S. must not step back from its essential role as a human rights leader and as a champion of the world’s most vulnerable.
“Failure to speak out against these atrocities signals to dictators and human rights violators that the U.S. will turn a blind eye to their crimes. We can, and must, serve as a beacon of hope.”
In a press conference, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov addressed the calls.
He told reporters: “If there is such a question [on gay rights] then there will be an answer. We will inform you if this issue is raised.”
“This is a letter of a US organization to the US president. Probably, this is an issue for discussion between the US organization and the head of the United States.”
Related: Trump rallies with pastor who claims gay people molest children