For the first time, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities questioned the Russian Federation concerning the situation of LGBT people with disabilities. These queries were prompted by a report on intersectional discrimination and violations of human rights of LGBT people with disabilities prepared and submitted to the Committee by the Russian LGBT Network and the initiative group Queer-Peace.
During the 19th session of the UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, LGBT activist Krill Fyodorov presented a report on violations of rights and discriminatory actions against LGBT people with disabilities in the Russian Federation. Fyodorov provided details on specific cases of cross-discrimination, including the experiences of Yulia Savinovsky of the city of Yekaterinburg, a mother who lost custody of her two adopted children due to suspicions of being transgender. He also detailed the involuntary psychiatric “diagnoses” and “treatments” members of the LGBT continue to face in Russia, and highlighted the so-called “propaganda law” that blocks LGBT organizations in Russia from reaching out to organizations focusing on people with disabilities.
Spurred by Fyodorov’s presentation, the representatives of the UN-CRPD posed the following questions to the representatives of the Russian Federation:
Kirill Fyoderov noted that, “for the first time at the international level, representatives voiced the concerns of Russian LGBT community with disabilities".
He continued "In addition to drawing attention to current problems, we wanted to show to representatives of our country that the agenda of the LGBT community is much more diverse than their stereotypical ideas. I am also pleased that we are able to inform the members of the Committee of the experiences of Yulia Savinovsky, who lost custody of her adopted children because she was allegedly a transgender person. This situation clearly illustrates the importance of understanding the relationship between different types of discrimination. Because of the homophobia and transphobia of our state institutions, children with special health needs have been taken out of a caring family.
In replies to the questions posed by the UN-CRPD, representatives of the Russian Federation provided false information to the Committee Chair. In the case of Savinovsky, they claimed unsanitary conditions and the insufficient attention of parents to children served as the motivation for the removal of children from the home.
In response to questions concerning “reorientation” therapy and psychiatric medicalization, representatives of the Russian Federation stated, without hesitation, that no measures of compulsory treatment for members of the "deviant group" were applied, a response that confirmed the existence of such treatments, noted at the 19th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. And this is only the beginning of international advocacy on the problems of people under double stigmatization and subjected to double discrimination. We still have a long way to go."
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations (CRPD Committee) began its 19th session on 14 February. The official periodic report prepared by the Russian Federation was considered on 27 and 28 February.
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities consists of independent experts checking the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 13, 2006. The Russian Federation ratified this convention in 2012.