Kyrgyzstan Parliament to Debate Russian Style Anti-“Propaganda” Bill
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today urged the U.S. government and the international community to work to prevent the passage of Kyrgyzstan’s proposed discriminatory anti-“propaganda” law. The bill, which emulates Russia’s infamous law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors,” will face its first reading in the Kyrgyz parliament on Thursday after receiving approval by the human rights committee earlier this year.
“Passage of this blatantly homophobic legislation would violate the human rights of Kyrgyzstan’s LGBT community and add to an escalating culture of violence and discrimination against many Kyrgyz citizens,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “The Obama Administration should publicly condemn this legislation and press the Kyrgyz government to stop the passage of this and further discriminatory laws.”
The ramifications of Kyrgyzstan’s anti-“propaganda” bill go beyond those of the Russian law it is modeled after, banning the existence of LGBT organizations, shuttering gay clubs, and most notably, calling for a one-year prison sentence for those found guilty of propagating non-traditional sexual relations. European Union officials have decried the bill as one of the most “sweeping anti-propaganda bills ever published.” If passed and signed into law by Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atrambayev, the bill would limit the speech, expression, and freedom of assembly of activists, civil society leaders, journalists, and members of LGBT community by criminalizing public expression and events that contain information about “non-traditional sexual relations.”
During the past two years, Russia’s homophobic laws and policies have spread throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Human Rights First continues to urge the U.S. government work to prevent the spread of Russian-style anti-“propaganda” laws in the surrounding region. The organization also urges the Obama Administration to appoint a special envoy for the human rights of LGBT people within the State Department.
“The creation of a special envoy position on the human rights of LGBT people would stand as a statement of the commitment to keep the human rights of LGBT persons at the heart of U.S. foreign policy,” added Gaylord.