Representatives of the Russian LGBT Network presented the situation with human rights as regards LGBT in Russia during the session of the UN Human Rights Council. The session is held from February 25 to March 22 in Geneva.
Official delegations of states, functionaries of the UN International Secretariat as well as civil society representatives participated in the activities of this session of the Council. The session was preceded by a pre-conference for the subsequent report on the situation in Russia as part of the Universal Periodic Review.
Representatives of the Russian LGBT Network took part in the side event dedicated to criminalization of human rights defenders in Russia, organized by Human Rights House Foundation. In 2012, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Navanethem Pillay emphasized that “in the last two months we saw some distressing changes in the legal sphere that govern enjoyment of right for freedom of assembly, association, speech and information in Russia. At least four new legal regulations that will have negative effect on the situation with human rights in this country have been introduced.” This recent outburst of regulative activity in combination with current prosecution and intimidation of civil activists heavily affects the work of human rights defenders and creates a general atmosphere of repression in the country. Among the panel participants are Ms Maria Kozlovskaya, legal expert and program manager of Russian LGBT Network, and Ms Anna Dobrovolskaya, member of the International Network – Youth Human Rights Movement.
Maria Kozlovskaya said that “Those laws banning the 'propaganda of homosexuality' adopted in 10 federated states of Russia and the project of the similar federal law in draft are all part of the policy of the Russian Federation authorities for criminalization of human rights activists work. LGBT organizations and activists, being part of human rights movement, discharge an important function on the regional, federal, and international levels in terms of human rights and fundamental freedoms protection. Restriction of their activities is inadmissible, and it should not be justified by traditions and moral values of the popular majority.”
On March 8, Russian LGBT Network together with other human rights organizations arranged a side event entitled Traditional Values and Human Rights: From the Perspective of Human Rights Activists. The reason for holding this meeting for the Russian LGBT Network is the eruption of violence on the grounds of hate caused by public discourse of the legislative initiative and adoption of the law banning the so called 'propaganda of homosexuality.' Proponents of these laws refer to conventional views of the popular majority. Participants of the meeting discussed how the concept of 'traditional values' is utilized for justification of violation of human rights and violence in Russia, India and other countries. The discussion also covered recent efforts to compromise the international legal framework through promotion of 'traditional values' in the UN Human Rights Council. The discussion was held in the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Previously, on February 28th during the summit meeting that takes place in the first week of the Council activities, Ms Dobrovolskaya presented the standpoint of Russian human rights organizations as regards persecution of human rights activists and attempts of various countries to criminalize human rights activities.
The mission was organized by Freedom House.