Civil Rights Defenders Urges the Duma to Dismiss Federal Anti-Gay Law

On 19 December the Russian Duma will begin the first reading of a bill which, if passed, effectively will ban “propaganda of homosexuality” in the country. The bill is allegedly aimed at protecting children from harmful information. Civil Rights Defenders urges the Russian Duma to dismiss the proposed legislation that is clearly in conflict with the freedom of speech.

Similar laws, recently passed in nine regions in Russia, have already demonstrated an increase in hostility and aggression toward the LGBT community. The Russian LGBT Network and Coming Out, both partners of Civil Rights Defenders, report a series of attacks against participants of peaceful events.

“One year of application of such laws in the regions have shown that, in practice, they are used to persecute dissidents, not to protect the children,” said Igor Kochetkov, the chairman of the LGBT Network. “Under the pretext of protecting the family, the authors of the bill actually destroy it, identifying a family as ‘biological union of a man and a woman’.”

Initially submitted for the State Duma’s consideration by the Legislative Assembly of Novosibirsk region in March, the draft legislation was put on State Duma’s calendar for discussion on 21 November, immediately after the landmark decision on Fedotova v. Russia case.

On 19 November the UN Human Rights Committee held that Russia had violated Irina Fedotova’s right to freedom of expression and protection against discrimination. Fedotova was arrested in April for posting banners by a nearby school saying “Homosexuality is normal” and “I am proud of my homosexuality.”

“We urge the Russian government to honor the committee’s decision and dismiss the further discussion of the proposed legislation that would expose Russian citizens to discrimination and violate their freedom of speech,” said Cecilia Rosing, Eurasia Programme Officer, Civil Rights Defenders.

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