STATEMENT OF CONCERN OVER THE ESCALATION OF OPPRESSION AGAINST THE LGBTQI+ COMMUNITY IN RUSSIA
UNITED for Intercultural Action expresses deep concern over the recent ruling of the Russian Supreme Court, which designates the “international LGBT public movement” as an extremist organization. This unprecedented decision significantly escalates the threats faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in Russia.
The ruling does not include a concrete definition of what constitutes the “international LGBT movement.” This ambiguity grants the authorities broad discretion to target any individual or organisation that is perceived to advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, posing grave threats to the already restricted rights and freedoms in the country and potentially leading to arrests, prosecutions, and lengthy prison sentences.
In this context, we urge the European Union to uphold all relevant fundamental human rights, including the responsibility to provide asylum for those escaping persecution due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
UNITED’s senior expert and representative at the Board of the Civil Society Forum, Julie Ward, said:
“It is very worrying to see Russia further ramping up anti-LGBT legislation in a move which will undoubtedly lead to increased discrimination and fuel homophobic and transphobic hate crime. The ‘international LGBT movement’ means many different things to different people. However, it is not an organisation which can be governed or held to account by authorities, but a vibrant broad-based progressive socio-cultural phenomena that reflects a growing humanistic trend to make the world more inclusive and LGBT+ friendly. The designation of an amorphous social movement as ‘extremist’ is therefore nonsensicle but also dangerous, opening the way for personal prejudices and collective ignorance to hold sway in addition to state repression. The timing of this new law only months before a presidential election will also have a further chilling effect on civil society in Russia. The LGBT+ community in Russia and the diaspora must be supported in a sensitive and practical way during this difficult time.”
UNITED stands in solidarity with all persecuted communities around the world and will continue to monitor the situation closely.