A MOTION introduced by Greens Senator Janet Rice condemning the persecution of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya has been refused a vote in the Senate by the federal government.

The motion called on the government to work with other UN nations on a UN resolution condemning the Chechen government and to be prepared to take gay and bisexual refugees from Chechnya.

It also asked the government to cut any trade and diplomatic links with Chechnya that Australia may have.

However, the government denied formality and stymied a vote, reasoning that it didn’t vote on matters of foreign policy and wouldn’t be able to agree on the wording.

“I am extremely disappointed that the government has denied formality on this important notion,” Senator Rice said in parliament.

“I note that our foreign minister has raised this issue with the Russian government and commend her for doing so, but there is a lot more action that needs to be taken.”

Spokesperson for just.equal Rodney Croome said the government’s decision to not allow a vote highlighted its inaction on the rights of LGBTI people.

“The Government’s excuse that it doesn’t vote on matters of foreign policy and it couldn’t agree on wording will be cold comfort to gay and bisexual men being rounded up and executed in Chechnya,” he said.

“It’s particularly disappointing that Malcolm Turnbull hasn’t said a word about this crisis, unlike other heads of government such as Angela Merkel.”

Melbourne will hold a vigil in solidarity with gay and bisexual men in Chechnya on Tuesday 16 May.

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