Russia: Reject Discriminatory Bill

Published: June 24, 2013

(Moscow) – The Russian parliament’s upper chamber should reject a draft law that would discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill would make it an administrative offense to expose minors to information about “non-traditional sexuality.” The Federation Council, the Russian parliament’s upper chamber, is scheduled to debate the draft law on June 26, 2013.

Many international bodies have spoken out about the draft law, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the United Nations, the European Union, and the Council of Europe (CoE). 

“This bill has prompted a wave of international criticism and it’s no wonder,” said Graeme Reid, LGBT Rights Program director at Human Rights Watch. “The draft is regressive and discriminatory, and represents a threat to human rights standards in Russia and internationally.”

On June 11, the lower chamber, the State Duma, hastily and unanimously passed the bill. If the Federation Council approves the bill, it will be sent to President Vladimir Putin for his signature.

An IOC spokesman in a media interview reiterated the organization’s “long commitment to non-discrimination.” The IOC has been reluctant to criticize Russia, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, for its human rights record. In a June 19 letter, Human Rights Watch called on the IOC to directly and publicly urge the Russian authorities to reject the law and prevent other forms of discrimination against LGBT people. Under the Olympic Charter, any such discrimination against a person is deemed “incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

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