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UN Chief Calls For End Of Abuse, Release Of Detained Gay Men In Chechnya

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling for an end to the abuse of gay men in Chechnya and the release of suspected gay men detained by Chechen authorities

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when asked on May 11 how Guterres' views reports of gay abuse in Chechnya, cited previous calls by UN special rapporteurs for the release of detainees and for Russian authorities to condemn all homophobic activities.

"It's clear from the secretary-general's point of view that no one should be persecuted for perceived reasons of sexual orientation or who they may love," Dujarric told reporters in New York.

Dujarric added that the Kremlin's failure to "firmly condemn all homophobic statements" serves as an "enticement to hatred and violence" against gays.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeed Ra'ad al-Hussein earlier called for a comprehensive inquiry into reports of persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya and said he is watching the situation closely.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last week asked Russia's Interior Ministry and human rights officials to look into what he called "rumors" of gay abuse in Chechnya. Chechen authorities have denied the allegations.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS