Ireland: Gay activists urge leaders to take clear measures against Russian anti-gay laws

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The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) has urged leaders in Ireland to take a clear stance on their intended actions against Russia’s notorious anti-gay “propaganda” laws.

GLEN has issued its statement to Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamonn Gilmore, to respond on behalf of the Government and the Irish people.

GLEN Chairperson Kieran Rose said: “We call on the Irish Government to condemn the new Russian laws in the strongest possible terms and send a clear message to Russia and to the world that Ireland believes them to be an affront to human rights and human dignity.

“Since Vladimir Putin was re-elected President of Russia there has been a powerful crackdown on human rights and civil society groups. New laws are being supplemented by harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and civil society representatives and organisations.

“These new laws represent a serious attack on human rights and civil society in Europe.

“They send out the clear message from the Russian government and parliament that intolerance of others is acceptable and that human rights are not inviolable but rather are political notions which can be rowed back when it is politically advantageous to do so.

“This cannot be allowed to stand.”

President Vladimir Putin signed the controversial law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community.

A new international campaign “Keep Hope Alive” has called on world leaders to challenge the Russian government at this week’s G20 conference.

The G20 conference is taking place in Russia in St Petersburg on September 5 and 6.

Mr Rose continued: “Ireland, while not a member of the G20, has a very significant role to play in ensuring that the EU seriously addresses these violations of the most basic international human rights obligations and democratic principles.

“We call on the Irish government to prioritise addressing these developments including at the EU, the Council of Europe and the United Nations Human Rights Council, where Ireland is currently a member.”

Barack Obama, who will be attending the G20 conference, has reportedly announced he will meet LGBT activists in St Petersburg during his trip to the city.

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