LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

ILGA-Europe extremely concerned by approval of Russian draft law to ban “homosexual propaganda”

ILGA-Europe is extremely concerned by today’s approval by the Russian federal parliament (State Duma) of a draft legislation aimed at banning “propaganda of homosexuality” in Russia.

If adopted in second and third readings and signed by the President, this law will make it illegal for any organisation or individual to publish an article, hold an event, and publicly discuss LGBTI issues all over Russia. An overwhelming majority of the members of Parliament (388 out of 390 MPs present for the vote) supported the draft legislation (one voted against, one abstained) and that fifty-two deputies did not vote.

ILGA-Europe is also concerned by recent acts of violence against LGBTI human rights defendes and their supporters, and calls on the Russian authorities to effectively ensure their safety and protection.

ILGA-Europe strongly condemns what is clearly an attempt to curtail the right to freedom of expression of LGBTI people in the Russian Federation. Similar laws have already been adopted and enforced in other Russia’s cities and regions: 2006 in Ryazan (2006), in Arkhangelsk (2011), in Kostroma region (2011), in Saint-Petersburg (2012) and, yesterday in Kaliningrad. The Russian Duma has ignored Russia’s international human rights obligations and calls from European and international institutions to withdraw the legislative proposal. In his statement from 24 January 2012, the PACE Rapporteur of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Håkon Haugli strongly condemned developments around the law and called on Russian parliamentarians to stand up for the core values of the Council of Europe: human rights, democracy and the rule of law – for all.

Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director, said:

“We repeat our call to the members of the State Duma to immediately abandon what is inherently a discriminatory initiative. Today’s debate in the State Duma demonstrates how much misinformation there is about homosexuality and we regret the fact that many members of the Duma misrepresented facts to serve their arguments. We hope that the period leading up to the second hearing will be an opportunity for an open discussion based on evidence.”

ILGA-Europe also calls upon European institutions and governments to publicly condemn such legislative initiatives in Russia.