Amnesty: Russian anti-gay law will restrict the human rights of LGBT people

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Amnesty International has spoken out against the Russian draft law which outlaws the “propaganda of homosexuality among minors”, saying that it restricts the human rights of LGBT people.

On Friday, the Russian State Duma adopted the first reading of a homophobic censorship bill which would impose federal sanctions for the promotion of “gay propaganda”.

388 members of the state Duma voted for the bill, one voted against, and one member chose to abstain. 60 others did not vote.

The law would make the “promotion of homosexuality among minors” an administrative offence in federal law, with fines of up to 500,000 roubles (£10,600).

David Diaz-Jogeix, Europe and Central Asia Programme Deputy Director at Amnesty International, said:

“The police yet again directed their actions with arguably excessive force towards the wrong people. The LGBTI activists were not a threat to anybody; they did not instigate hate or violence. They were there exercising their right to freedom of expression of their feelings towards one another. They are as entitled to this right and protection from violence as everyone else.”

Diaz-Jogeix added: “This law is an attack on the right to freedom of expression.

“This law further stigmatises and alienates LGBTI people, including children, and will deprive them of information that could be crucial to their health.

“It perversely presumes that the moral, spiritual and psychological development of children is best served by denying them access to support and information that can help them make informed, autonomous and responsible decisions. This is an unjust law.

“Besides, this law will deny LGBTI people equality before the law by curtailing the activities of LGBTI activists, some of whom have already been harassed and assaulted.”

The statement from Amnesty UK said: “There is no legal definition in the Russian law of what constitutes ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ and the law could be interpreted very loosely. They are going to punish people for something which is perfectly legitimate – expressing themselves, being themselves.”

It went on to say that a group of protesters against the law staged a kiss-in, but were pelted with eggs, and subject to verbal abuse. Police later detained 20 of the protesters, reports suggest.

On Friday a group of experts from the United Nations urged Russia to drop the law and said that it would undermine the human rights of LGBT people in the country.

Last Wednesday, the High Representative for the European Union condemned the a Russian draft law and urged the country to “protect” the rights of gay people, by rejecting it. 

Similar laws have already been passed regionally in ten different areas of Russia, but this bill would impose the law nationwide.