MOSCOW, May 23, 2008 (GayRussia.ru)
– The Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development has repealed the ban on
blood donations by homosexual people, it emerged last night.
This move by the Russian
authorities is a victory for the activists from Russian LGBT Human Rights,
Project GayRussia.ru, who have fought the restrictions for more than two
Tatyana Golikova, the Minister of
Health and Social Development signed the decree on April 16, it emerged
The decree amends the rules on
blood donations which were implemented on September 14, 2001.
According to the amendments,
provisions for absolute ban on blood donations by people from the so called
groups of high risk (homosexuals, drug addicts and prostitutes) are being
Activists at GayRussia have been
campaigning against the ban since April 2006 when they sent a letter to the
Ministry of Health and Social Development as well as to the Russian General
Prosecutor asking for the repeal of the ban because it contradicted the
Russian Constitution and federal legislation.
They repeated their demand a year
later. The Ministry responded twice to the activists, saying that the
amendments will be implemented, and that the issue is being discussed within
A third letter was sent to the
Ministry last month. Nikolai Alekseev and Nikolai Baev reminded officials
that “since May 1993 homosexual relations between consenting adults in
private are not considered a crime in Russia. Since 1999 Russian psychiatry
does not consider homosexuality as a mental illness as it joint
international classification of mental illnesses”.
Campaign coordinators also
suggested that “according to Article 23 of the Russian Constitution, “every
person has the right to private life, personal and family secrets”.
According to Article 19 of the Constitution, discrimination is prohibited on
On September 14 last year gay
activists wanted to picket Ministry of Health and Social Development in
Moscow to demand an immediate repeal of the discriminatory ban on blood
donations by homosexuals.
But the Prefecture of the Central
Administrative Area of Moscow banned the picket on security grounds. And
unsanctioned public event led to arrests of the activists near the Ministry.
They were later fined by the court for conducting an unauthorised picket.
The same day – September 14 –
several Russian gay activists, including the organizer of Moscow Pride
Nikolai Alekseev, tried to donate blood as openly gay men in the Central
Blood Transfusion Centre in Moscow but they failed to do it.
During a conversation with Nikolai
Alekseev – in front of journalists – deputy head of the centre Sergei
Oprischenko admitted that the ban could not be realised in practice and
should be repealed.
All this time it was used to
stigmatise gay people, who were equated to drug addicts and prostitutes.
Speaking from São Paulo in Brazil,
Nikolai Alekseev said today: “I am very happy that the Ministry took this
decision to repeal a discriminatory ban on blood donations by homosexual
“We conducted our campaign against
the ban for two years and it brought the results. Not so many people
believed in our success but we proved that actions can lead to serious
He suggested that “this decision
reflects the most liberal tendencies which can be witnessed in most
democratic countries of the world”.
“Russia will become an example in
this respect for other countries, including western democracies, where such
restrictions are still in force.
“Russian legislation finally got
rid of the last direct discriminatory provision against homosexual people.
Now we are going to ask for positive actions of the authorities in order to
directly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in Russia law
as well as criminal prosecution for hate speeches and aggressive
Mr. Alekseev is in São Paulo to
receive the city’s Gay Pride’s “Citizen
Award for Respecting Diversity”. Gay Prides in
São Paulo, the world’s largest, and Moscow are
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Posted: 23 May 2008 at
01:00 (UK time)