ILGA-Europe: ‘EU leaders must confront Putin over human rights crisis’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

LGBT campaign group ILGA-Europe has called on the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy to speak out against homophobic persecution in Russia.

Baroness Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, has also been urged to intervene.

Yesterday, ILGA-Europe, together with a number of Russian and international human rights organisations, launched the “Keep Hope Alive” campaign, in order to highlight the deteriorating human rights situation and escalating clamp down on civil society in Russia

Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, Gabi Calleja, said: “The human rights situation in Russia is in deep crisis. The homosexuality anti-propaganda law is just one example of this. So far Russia ignored all statements by international human rights organisations and case-law of the UN Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights. That is why our coalition of human rights organisations is calling on the world leaders to openly and firmly confront Russia.

“Democracy and respect for human rights are the core values of the European Union and a corner stone of its relations and policies towards all other countries. EU leaders cannot remain silent when those principles are brutally violated and they need to make this crystal clear to President Putin.”

There’s been an increase in violence against LGBT people in Russia following the passing of June’s anti-gay legislation.

It prescribes fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under the age of 18 – ranging from 4,000 roubles (£78) for an individual to 1m roubles (£19,620) for organisations.

Earlier this week, State Duma MP Mikhail Degtyarev, who is also a Moscow mayoral candidate from the populist-nationalist party LDPR, suggested that the country’s Health Ministry should reintroduce a 2008 ban preventing gay men from donating blood and also introduce measures for voluntary gay-to-straight conversion therapy.