In recent weeks, reports have emerged on the allegations against police officials in the Chechnya republic of Russia, under control of leader Ramzan Kadyrov. They set up concentration camps for those suspected of being gay as a result of an anti-gay “crackdown.” Hundreds of gay men have been detained and are suffering abuse in such camps.

Victims have brought to light their experiences and describe the torture endured, ranging from beatings to being electrocuted. It is feared that at least three men are dead. According to CNN gay activists say that for years now, sexual minorities have been targeted in Chechnya, the problems have now worsened.

Although government spokesman, Alvi Karimov has called it “an absolute lie” and even denied the existence of gay men within the republic, the situation has gained attention within the United Nations.

“If true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored, Chechen authorities must immediately investigate these allegations, hold anyone involved accountable, and take steps to prevent future abuses,” United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said.

As exemplified by the current conditions in Chechnya, there has been a worldwide increase with regards to intolerance and hate driven violence. Although society has progressed in gaining equal rights and decreased discrimination, we still have a long way to go with regards to minority races and one’s sexual orientation. The only way to end this is to advocate for what is right. This issue, we have written an article on how members of the LGBTQ+ need to be more visible and proud of who they are in order to continue making progressive changes for the community (found on page 5).

Haley stated that we must not ignore discrimination and human rights because this can lead to “destabilisation and conflict.” By staying silent, we are condoning the actions of the oppressors and are allowing the victims to continue to suffer.

Often times, students may ask themselves what change their opinions will make on a worldwide level. However, to say that one person cannot change the world is a complete lie. Although on a realistic level it may seem impossible, the premise is false. By initiating a conversation, one has begun to raise awareness of an unpopular topic. Through communication we as students can spread knowledge to others by simply advocating for what we know is right and condemning what is wrong. We as students have a voice and must utilize the power it has to bring about change within our society.

Students on campus may feel as if their voice has no weight in the world  but many outlets are offered to voice their opinions. Clubs on campus are only one of the ways to raise awareness. Intolerance and discrimination should not have a place within our society. We as students should be committed to social justice and speak for those who have no voice.

“We owe it to ourselves, our communities and each other to stand up and say something [when we see intolerance and discrimination of any kind],” chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc. Tom Linebarger said.