The human rights office of the United Nations has rejected Russia’s controversial ban on the promotion of ‘gay propaganda’, instead urging the Kremlin to repeal the law.
Speaking in Kiev in Ukraine, human rights advisor Claude Cahn from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), has called the anti-gay laws ‘inherently discriminatory in both intent and effect’.
‘Such measures form the basis for standing and regular harassment, and even arbitrary detention, and help create a climate of fear for anyone working on advancing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,’ said Cahn.
The UN’s message was not aimed solely at Russia however, as some areas in the Republic of Moldova also operate a similar law, and Ukraine is considering an almost identical proposal.
The full statement from the OHCHR advocates ‘comprehensive, non-discriminatory sexuality education’ to help tackle homophobia and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
Jasmine O’Connor from UK charity Stonewall believes that the law will cause more harm than good: ‘Rather than protecting the health and moral wellbeing of minors, experience shows that such measures reinforce stigma and prejudice, leading to more discrimination, more abuse and more violence, contrary to the interests and rights of the children and young people concerned.’
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has previously urged governments to treat homophobia and transphobia with the same tolerance as sexism and racism: ‘Each and every one of us is entitled to the same rights, to the same respect and ethical treatment, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity.’