ILGA-Europe's Statement on proposed 'propaganda' law in St. Petersburg

Published: November 11, 2011

ILGA-Europe is deeply concerned about such proposal introduced by the Legal Committee of St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly. Such legislation would constitute a clear violation of the country’s international obligations to uphold freedom of expression and fight discrimination.

ILGA-Europe is also disturbed by the fact that the draft legislation puts homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender identities on the same footing as paedophilia which is criminally punishable. ILGA-Europe is also worried that the vague language of the proposed legislation would leave dangerously broad space and opportunity for arbitrary interpretation. As there is clear evidence that such proposal aims at existing LGBTI movement, ILGA-Europe is concerned that, if adopted, the legislation will have catastrophically detrimental effect on LGBTI movement and individuals in Russia.

ILGA-Europe has been working closely with LGBTI organisations in Russia for the last three years. It has been a period of growth and empowerment for Russian LGBTI movement. ILGA-Europe believes that the current proposal is a response to the emerging LGBTI movement in Russia and an attempt to prevent it. All current leading LGBTI organisations such as Russian LGBT Network, Coming Out and the organising committee of Side by Side films festival are based in St. Petersburg. The proposed law is nothing less than an attempt by the Russian authorities to discredit them in public eye and to create a legal framework to limit and possibly close down those organisations.

ILGA-Europe urges St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly to immediately abandon this proposal. Instead of enacting discriminatory laws, the Legislative Assembly should work towards elimination of all forms of discrimination including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. ILGA-Europe would like to remind Russia about its International and European human rights obligations under instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), both of which guarantee the freedom of expression.

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