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Lgbt And Russia Essay

3034 words - 13 pages

This paper addresses human rights abuses against members of the LGBT community in Russia. The LGBT community has been a marginalized group of society in Russia in many ways throughout history, however the legislation that was recently passed in Russia goes a step further to strip these individuals of their human rights and dignity. The legislation is inconsistent with several human rights provisions in international treaties that have been ratified by Russia: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); Convention ...view middle of the document...

After the bill had been dismissed 3 times, a climate of political unrest grew out of the 2011 Parliamentary elections, which eventually led to the passage of the bill. After fraud allegations, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in the largest post-Soviet protest, and completely shook up the political establishment. It seems that the passage of the bill was based, at least in part, as an attempt to create solidarity and strengthen the Russian government.
The bill was signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 30, 2013. Under this law, it is illegal to equate straight and gay relationships, or distribute any material on gay rights. This law imposes fines on people using the media or internet to promote non-traditional values, and foreigners can be imprisoned for up to 15 days as well as fined for breaking the law. This law also forbids people from public discussion of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Fines are significant for “providing information about the LGBT community to minors, holding gay pride events, speaking in defense of gay rights, or equating gay and heterosexual relationships.
Homophobic and discriminatory attacks have increased in recent history and continue to do so since this legislation was enacted. In the first half of 2013 there were 13 beatings and one murder that were motivated by anti-gay bias, in 2012 there were 12 attacks, and in 2011 there were 3. Given the history of discrimination against the LGBT community in Russia, it is perhaps not surprising that this law has passed.
This history of LGBT discrimination is highlighted in the events that led to the European Court of Human Rights decision in Alekseyev v. Russia. Most notably, in 2006 the Russian government claimed that a ban on a Gay Pride rally was a necessary security measure because the march would create unrest among protestors. The Moscow government released a statement that they would “not even consider allowing the gay parade”. The mayor also said that he considered homosexuality unnatural, and that the ban on gay pride parades and rallies was necessary on public safety grounds, to avoid stirring up society. He claimed that the community would react negatively and that the rally would cause “a negative reaction and protests against the participants, which would turn into civil disorder and mass riots”.
Despite the mayor’s efforts to silence their voices, activists held the Moscow Pride Festival March 2006. Festival participants included politicians and activists from around the world, including Merlin Holland, the grandson of Oscar Wilde. During a lecture given by Holland, protestors began shouting obscenities to the crowd before spraying them with mace. The rally’s organizer, Nikolai Alekseyev, along with the NGO Gay Russia, brought suit in a district court against the city for the refusal to allow the event. The district court held that the organizers...

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