On One Year Anniversary of Discriminatory Anti-“Propaganda” Law, Russian Activists Continue to Work for Equality
Washington, D.C. – On the one year anniversary of the launch of the discriminatory anti-“propaganda” law in Russia, Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord issued the following statement:
“In the year since the Russian government enacted the harsh anti-“propaganda” law, Russia’s LGBT community has faced increasing persecution, harassment, and violence. Although there have been relatively few prosecutions under the vaguely worded law, its effect reaches beyond courtroom walls and jail cell bars. Russian human rights activists and members of the LGBT community have faced harassment from government officials, threats of violence, and imprisonment for peaceful public demonstrations. Some have even chosen to leave Russia in search of safety and freedom.
“Today we recognize the tireless efforts of the brave men and women who continue to fight for the human rights for LGBT Russians at great risk to themselves. We will continue to stand side by side with Russian and Eastern European activists, as we have for decades, to work toward the repeal of draconian anti-“propaganda” laws, and stop the passage of similar laws in the surrounding region.
“The Obama Administration has been a leading advocate for the protection of the human rights of LGBT people worldwide, and we continue to work with policymakers, activists, and the international community to ensure that this remains a key foreign policy priority.”
The ban of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin and became effective on June 30th of last year amidst widespread international condemnation. The law, inspired by several similar bans on the regional levels, introduced severe fines against those convicted of distributing information aimed at creating nontraditional sexual attitudes amongst minors, portraying the attractiveness of such sexual relations, or creating the misperception that such relationships are of the same social equivalence.
This week, Human Rights First will share the stories of several Russian human rights activists and how their lives have been and continue to be affected by Russia’s crackdown on civil society.