GENEVA, today – The official delegation of Russia announced their willingness to take all required measures to prevent homophobic hate crimes and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation at the 24th UN Human Rights Council. However, they dismissed the recommendations to abolish the so called ‘propaganda of homosexualism’ laws. All such obligations will be fulfilled by Russian authorities during the next four years.
As part of the final stage of the Universal Periodic Review (2 round) of Russia, the Russian delegation approved the recommendations by Switzerland, Denmark, and Norway as pertains to taking measures to prevent violence and intolerance of racist, xenophobic, and homophobic nature as well as to prevent discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Russia has also assumed its obligations to defend lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersexual (LGBTI) rights including the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
The recommendation to intensify the activities for protection of citizens against violence and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation proposed by Uruguay has been taken to decision. However, the proposal to adopt antidiscrimination law has been dismissed by Russia, explaining that the current Russian laws already contain the prohibition of discrimination of LGBT.
Russia agreed with the recommendations by Iceland and Argentina regarding efficient investigation of crimes on grounds of homophobic hate and dissemination of homophobic stereotypes through mass media and by state officials, noting that such recommendations have already been put into practice.
However, the recommendations regarding abolition or alteration of laws banning so called ‘propaganda of homosexualism’ proposed by the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Canada, and Slovenia have been unambiguously dismissed. Russia refused to acknowledge the discrimination element of the Russian law as pertains to LGBT.
The first part of today’s session was dedicated to presentation of comments by official delegations to the obligations assumed by Russia. Specifically, the representative of Great Britain expressed his concern about the laws recently adopted in Russian that are repressive to human rights defense and LGBT organizations including the so called ‘foreign agents’ law and the law banning the ‘propaganda of homosexualism’. Britain proposed that Russia should approve all recommendations concerning the state of LGBT.
Apart from the official delegations, non-governmental organizations participated in the session. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, the Russian LGBT Network, etc., made their statements. Ms Anna Dobrovolskaya, on behalf of the Russian LGBT Network, addressed the Russian delegation with an appeal to accept recommendations of 12 countries regarding abolition of laws banning the so called ‘homosexual propaganda’, investigation of crimes on grounds of homophobic hate and discrimination of LGBT.
The statement contained a short description of current situation with observation of human rights as pertains to LGBT in Russia. In particular, the data resulting from the monitoring of LGBT abuse, practice of investigation of hate crimes and organized criminal gang called Occupy-Gerontofiliay that ‘hunts’ adolescent gays were presented. This gang records videos of tortures and insults and publishes them on Internet.
Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was established on 15 March 2006 by the UN General Assembly based on resolution 60/251 that established the Human Rights Council. UPR serves as a mechanism of cooperation that will complete the review of all countries by 2011. No similar universal mechanism exists nowadays. UPR is a permanent reminder for states to fulfill their obligations and provide for exercise of rights and fundamental freedoms of humans. This mechanism serves to achieve the final goal of advancement of human rights in all countries and combating offences in all countries.