In the wake of criticism about attending a birthday celebration for Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, Hilary Swank is anxious to make her commitment to human rights clear.
“I deeply regret attending this event, which has thrown into question my long and deeply-held commitment to the protection of human rights,” Swank said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I would never intentionally do anything that raised doubts about such commitment.”
Swank came under fire after she showed up for the opening of a residential and commercial complex in Grozny City and wished the controversial Chechen president a happy birthday.
In the statement, Swank says she accepted the invitation “because the construction project was described to her as a symbol of hope for the people of Chechnya, a region that had been devastated by war.”
However, critics argue that Swank’s presence and birthday wishes for Kadyrov showed a disregard for allegations that the Chechen president is responsible for torturing and/or murdering a number of individuals. In fact, the Human Rights Commission claims it sent Swank — along with several celebrity invitees — a letter ahead of the event explaining why attendance would be a massive mistake.
“If I had a full understanding of what this event was apparently intended to be,” concludes Swank’s statement, “I would never have gone.”