53 members of the US Congress have written to Donald Trump, pleading with him to speak out against the persecution of gay men in Chechnya.
The federal representatives have called on the President to condemn the ongoing kidnappings, torture and killings of gay men which have plagued the region since April.
Despite repeated urgings, Trump has remained silent on the issue.
In a damning letter, the elected officials – 52 of whom are Democrats – wrote that “the lives of hundreds of Chechens are at stake,” BuzzFeed has reported.
They added that it was “vital that the US uses its full leverage and to pressure Russian authorities to end these atrocities”.
The US should also ensure that Russian lawmakers “conduct a fair and open investigation and prosecution of these crimes, and swiftly work to provide a safe haven for the marginalised.”
And the politicians urged Trump to uphold the quote emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal – that is, to welcome Chechnya’s huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
“We urge you to assign to the appropriate agencies in your Administration, and work with our allies, to help find a safe refuge for the Chechens who have managed to escape this horrifying situation,” they wrote.
The US “stands as a beacon of hope for marginalised people across the world and has a commitment to protect and promote the human rights and dignity of all persons,” they added.