Four Irish youth groups sent a letter yesterday to the Russian ambassaor objecting to ‘worrying developments’ and ‘inhumane acts’ against LGBT people in the Slavic country.
The letter highlights incidents in Russia that the groups describe as ‘public bullying, harassment and torture of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBTQ) young people’, referencing an article published by Gay Star News last month about gay teens being kidnapped and tortured.
The youth groups – BeLonG To, the Union of Students in Ireland, the National Youth Council of Ireland and the International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organization – urge the Russian government to ‘act immediately and effectively in order to demonstrate it does not tolerate such criminal acts’ and request a meeting with Ambassador Maxim Peshkov.
The groups, who are all concerned with the rights of LGBT youth, object to the anti-gay propaganda law that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law in June. The law criminalizes speaking in public about LGBT rights.
‘While the legislation is defended as democratic, it directly contradicts fundamental human rights including freedom of expression, assembly and association as well as notions of equality, all of which lie at the very heart of democracy,’ the letter reads.
Carol-Anne O’Brien, advocacy officer with BeLonG To Youth Services expressed ‘strong support for LGBT groups and young people in Russia’ as they face a ‘worsening situation’. She added:
‘We believe that recently passed homophobic laws are providing justification for large increases in public displays of aggression towards LGBT youth.’
Earlier this week Stephen Fry wrote an open letter to the International Olympic Committee asking them to cancel the Winter Olympics in Sochi, southeastern Russia, because of the human rights abused against LGBT people in the country.
‘At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilized world,’ wrote Fry. ‘He is making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews.’