Irish youth groups hand letter of concern to Russian Ambassador over anti-LGBT violence

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Youth groups in Ireland have handed a letter of concern to the Russian Ambassador today, in order to protest against the treatment of LGBT young people in the country.

The letter came after reports of a gay teenager who died after allegedly being kidnapped and beaten by a neo-Nazi group.

Several groups joined up to voice their concern at the rise in the number of anti-gay hate crimes across Russia, which follow the passage of several anti-gay laws in the Russian State Duma.

BeLonG To Youth Services, the Union of Students in Ireland, the National Youth Council of Ireland and the International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO), were some of those involved in contributing to the letter.

The Letter read: “Today we send a message of solidarity and support to our Russian peers – young people like ourselves who are being forced to live each day in fear of violence,” the letter reads.

“No young person anywhere in the world should be persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Speaking to PinkNews, Laura Harmon the Union of Students in Ireland equality officer said: “The Union of Students in Ireland stand in solidarity with the young LGBT people affected by homophobic laws in Russia. Along with other youth organisations in Ireland, we have requested a meeting with the Russian Ambassador to voice our concerns. We will be working with other LGBT group to see what are the most effective things we can do to help Russian LGBT activists.”

Carol-Anne O’Brien, Advocacy Office for BeLonG To, said: “We wish to express our strong support for LGBT groups and young people in Russia as they face this worsening situation.

“We were shocked to view videos which have spread online, involving the luring, torturing and forced outing of LGBT youth.

“Many of these young people have been traumatised, ostracised and some media are claiming that people have been murdered.”

The upper house of the Russian Parliament in June to approve both a bill banning adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples and the nationwide anti-”propaganda” bill banning the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors.

The bills, which have since been signed by President Vladimir Putin, bans foreign same-sex couples and unmarried individuals in countries where same-sex marriage is legal from adopting Russian children.

Last month, speaking exclusively to PinkNews, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged Russia to protect the rights of LGBT citizens following concerns about gay athletes and spectators attending the 2014 Winter Olympics.

In May, a gay man from the southern Russian city of Volgograd who was tortured to death in an apparent hate crime, was sexually assaulted with beer bottles, and had his skull “smashed with a stone”, authorities said.