The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has noted its concern about Russia’s ban on ‘homosexual propaganda to minors’ which potentially bans any public discussion of LGBTI issues.
The committee, part of the United Nations Human Rights office, made public its concerns yesterday, saying the law was ill-defined and had the potential to be used against vulnerable LGBTI young people.
‘The Committee is … concerned at the recent developments in the legislation of the State party prohibiting “propaganda of unconventional sexual relationship”, generally with the intent of protecting children, which however encourages stigmatization of and discrimination against LGBTI persons, including children, and children of LGBTI families,’ the committee wrote in a report into the state of children’s rights in Russia.
‘The Committee is particularly concerned that vague definitions of propaganda leads to the targeting and ongoing persecution of the country’s LGBTI community, including abuse and violence, in particular against underage LGBTI rights activists.’
The committee recommended that the Russian Federation scrap the law entirely.
‘The Committee recommends that the State party repeal its laws prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality and ensure that children who belong to LGBTI groups or children of LGBTI families are not subjected to any forms of discrimination by raising the awareness of the public on equality and non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,’ the committee wrote,
The statement from the United Nations committee comes as Russia is in the spotlight over its LGBTI rights record as it hosts the Sochi Winter Olympics.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded its 65th session on 31 January and also criticized the Vatican Holy See over its treatment of LGBTI people and failure to tackle child abuse.