Anti-homosexuality law threatens freedom of expression and association
A draft law criminalizing “promotion of homosexuality among minors” is to be considered by the Russian Parliament on 19 December. The draft violates the right to freedom of expression and association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Article 6.13.1 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offences will, if passed, make the “promotion of homosexuality among minors” an offense punishable by fines of up to 500,000 rubles (US$ 16,200). The basis of the law is the view that children should be protected from homosexuality. The proposed law violates the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Russian Constitution.
If adopted, all information and assistance regarding LGBTI rights, discrimination and abuse may be prosecuted by Russian authorities, effectively criminalizing the core activities of LGBTI organizations. Similar laws have already been approved in Ryazan, Arkangelsk Kostroma, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Magadansk, Samar, Bashkortostan and Krasnodar.
These laws add an additional burden to the already difficult circumstances for human rights activists and organizations in Russia. Increasing intolerance in legislative matters is not only a threat to the LGBTI community, it is an alarming trend which concerns democratic development as such. Securing the rights of minorities is a litmus test on the quality and sincerity of a democracy. Article 6.13.1 is an indicator that in Russia, democracy is withering.
The Norwegian Helsinki committee have encouraged Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide and the Norwegian Ambassador in Russia,
Knut Hauge, to inform Russian Authorities that Norway considers adoption of this draft law unacceptable, and that Russia must
take immediate action to abolish legislation that put restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and association in
Ryazan, Arkangelsk Kostroma, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Magadansk, Samar, Bashkortostan and Krasnodar.
Click here for the statement of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee