Concerns raised that Belarus may enact anti-gay law similar to Russia’s

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Concerns have been raised by the Equal Rights Trust (ERT), that Belarus may enact a similar law to that passed in Russia last year banning the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations.”

The ERT raised concerns last week about the draft law which is yet to be released.

According to the organisation, work has begun on a bill intended to protect children from “propaganda of homosexuality”, and it was included in a presidential decree concerning the legislative agenda of parliament.

Russia last June introduced a law banning the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors.

A meeting was held in Minsk on 22 July, and included civil rights groups from around Belarus to discuss equality.

Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director of Equal Rights Trust, said: “While in Minsk I saw signs that Belarus may be starting to distance itself from Moscow in the wake of the annexation of Crimea. Yet, at the same time, we learn that the country plans to replicate Russia’s homophobic law, relying on populist calls to defend children from ‘propaganda of homosexuality’.

“Belarus, despite its pariah status, has a good record on promoting equality for women, disabled persons and others. We urge the government to resist the wave of homophobia issuing from Russia and uphold its track record on issues of equality.”

The ERT also notes a rise in the use of homophobic language in Belarusian media in the last year. Some have even incited violence, and others have likened homosexuality and paedophilia.

Human rights charity Amnesty International this year marched at Pride in London on behalf of LGBT people in Belarus.