PRESS STATEMENT #02/2014
For immediate release
7 February 2014
This year’s Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia have arrived, but not without great controversy regarding the protection of human rights, in particular lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. The Russian President’s controversial statement last month that homosexuals need to “leave children alone” continues to raise concerns of Russia’s stance concerning human rights.
Recently approved anti-gay legislation prevents “gay propaganda”, making the publication or distribution of information regarding homosexuality a crime that can result in large fines and even imprisonment. Alongside this law has come an increase in documented attacks and violence against LGBT people; children of LGBT parents are facing discrimination in schools and on the streets as a result of such laws. Not only is this a large step backwards for human rights, but it also suppresses an instrumental democratic claim, the freedom of expression.
A subsequent draft law was proposed in October 2013, to remove children from gay and lesbian parents. Although the draft law has been removed from discussion within the State Duma (Federal Assembly of Russia), the proposal is still alive, raising concerns that it will be reconsidered once the Olympics end (23 February 2014). Similar legal proposals have been brought forth in countries like Uganda and Nigeria; India’s Supreme Court has recently deemed homosexuality illegal.