Tory MP Simon Kirby calls on Foreign Secretary to condemn Russian Government’s treatment of LGBT people

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Conservative MP Simon Kirby has written a letter to Foreign Secretary William Hague urging him to “lead in the international condemnation of the Russian Government’s treatment of LGBT people.”

Mr Kirby, the MP for Brighton Kemptown and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Sport and Tourism, is latest UK political figure to speak out about the issue.

Yesterday, Conservative MP Mike Freer told that he would like the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to consider moving the 2014 Winter Olympics from Russia.

Earlier, Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Minister for Human Rights, Kerry McCarthy, said to that the UK Government needed to use next month’s G20 meeting in St Petersburg to raise the issue of gay rights with Russia.

Here is Mr Kirby’s letter in full:-

Dear William,

I am contacting you regarding the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people in the Russian Federation. You will be aware of the appalling record of the Russian Government in this area during recent years, and I am sure you share my view that the situation for LGBT people in Russia appears to be deteriorating.

The recent ban on the distribution of so-called “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” in the media is a clear effort to suppress the voice of the LGBT community and further isolate LGBT people within Russian society. These are people whose rights are already frequently violated and who enjoy no protection from discrimination or harassment under Russian law.

In this country we have seen the steady advance of rights for LGBT people, culminating in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act which I am proud that this Government introduced. I am sure that you share in my dismay that LGBT people in one of the largest and most populous nations on Earth are not enjoying the same advance in equality, and in fact face the opposite.

The upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi will see this issue receive international attention and provide the perfect opportunity to exert external pressure upon President Putin and his Government. We must take this opportunity to try and improve the lives of millions of LGBT people in Russia.

As a man who has fought tirelessly for the advancement of human rights across the world I urge you to lead in the international condemnation of the Russian Government’s treatment of LGBT people.

Yours ever,

Simon Kirby MP

Last week, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told that it was alarmed by the “growing restrictions on LGBT freedoms in Russia”.

A UK Government source also said that they anticipated the issue of homophobic oppression in Russia would be raised at the G20 Heads of Government meeting.

With international interest on the LGBT situation in Russia at an unprecedented level – on Thursday PinkNews published a collection of the most shocking LGBT stories to have come from the country in the past seven years.

Speaking to in July, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged Russia to “move with the times” when it came to LGBT rights.