UN to Consider Russian Laws on Gay Propaganda at Geneva Session Next Summer

MOSCOW, December 1, 2011    Russian campaigners against the so-called ‘gay propaganda to minors’ measures that started to be introduced in Ryazan District in 2006 heard yesterday that the United Nations Human Rights Committee will consider the matter at its session in Geneva in July 2012.

This announcement comes just two days after LGBT campaigners in Moscow and St. Petersburg launched a “10,000 letters and faxes” campaign to urge the UN and the European Court of Human Rights to expedite the appeals already lodged with both organisations

In a statement, GayRussia said it had been informed by the Human Rights Committee's secretariat at the UN that the case of Irina Fedotova, who is challenging her arrest for “propaganda of homosexuality to minors” in Ryazan, against Russia will be considered during the Committee’s July 2012 session in Geneva.  In accordance with the Rules of the Committee there will be no public hearing.

This, gay activists say, will be a major step in Eastern Europe, especially in the light of the recent attempt by St. Petersburg’s Parliament to pass a similar law to that in Ryazan, where Ms. Fedotova was arrested and charged.

Although the decisions of the UN are not legally binding, as decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, they carry an important and symbolical value.

“If we win, it will also be the first time that Russia is officially defeated at the UN over an LGBT issue,” the GayRussia statement pointed out.

It would also be a precedent for the future cases at Human Rights Committee.”

“We would like to express our deepest thanks and gratitude to all those who supported our campaign, asking the UN's Human Rights Committee to consider the case of Irina Fedotova,” Nikolai Baev, acting head of GayRussia, said.

Nikolai Alekseev, the founder of Gay Russia, said that the fight would continue.

“We hope the European Court of Human Rights will follow the UN and open a similar case of Nikolai Baev v. Russia as this is technically the only way to reverse the decision of the Russian Constitutional Court which held the ban of homosexual propaganda to minors constitutional.”

GayRussia's campaign against laws prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality was launched in 2009 and followed a duel tactic: several public actions to publicise the issue and raise awareness in Russia and around the world, and a legal challenge through Russian Courts and International Courts to get a decision which will result in reversing these laws.

■ Irina Fedotova is a Russian LGBT activist of long-standing.  She is the first Russian to challenge, together with her wife, Russia’s ban on same-sex marriage at the European Court.  The couple were married in Toronto in October 2009.


Russian LGBT Groups Appeal for Letters to Be Sent To ECHR and UN over ‘Gay Propaganda’ Moves.   The recently formed Kaleidoscope Trust, a London-based international group set up to campaign for diversity and gay rights around the world, has joined-up with International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and other organisations to back a campaign by Russian activists to try and halt a proposed law that will outlaw the “promotion of homosexuality” in Russia’s ‘second city’, St. Petersburg.  (UK Gay News, November 28, 2011)

British Foreign Office “Concerned” About Proposed Anti Gay Moves in St. Petersburg. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London expressed “concern” today over the proposed new law in St. Petersburg that would outlaw the “promotion” of gay, lesbian and transgender matters.  (UK Gay News, November 24, 2011)

Washington Moves Over St. Petersburg Proposed ‘Gay Propaganda’ Bill.  Despite having more ‘weighty’ matters of foreign policy on its agenda, the State Department took less than 24 hours to react to a question on the proposed legislation in St. Petersburg that would outlaw “gay propaganda”, as the Russians call it.  (UK Gay News, November 23, 2011)

Why It Is Wrong in Even Considering Anti Gay Legislation in St Petersburg.  UK Gay News Commentary.  Russia, in allowing ‘anti-gay’ legislation to be introduced in two regions – Ryazan in 2006 and Arkhangelsk last month, has totally flouted conventions of the 47-nation Council of Europe which it voluntarily joined as it came out of the Soviet era.  And when the Duma in St. Petersburg finally passes a similar law in the coming weeks, and this is virtually inevitable, there will be three regions of the country that fall foul of Strasbourg.  (UK Gay News, November 22, 2011)

Moscow Authorities Now Propose Anti Gay Bill.  The authorities in Moscow are now proposing to introduce a Bill that will outlaw the “promotion of homosexuality”, it emerged this afternoon.  (UK Gay News, November 17, 2011)

Gay and Lesbian Rights: St. Petersburg About to Enter ‘Hall of Shame’.  Commentary by Nikolai Alekseev.  After Ryazan in 2006 and Arkhangelsk, this autumn the regional parliament of St. Petersburg is considering a bill which will outlaw ‘the promotion of homosexuality, lesbianism, and transgenderism to minors’.  St. Petersburg is about to enter the hall of shame of the Russian regions which limit a fundamental human right of an individual, the right to freedom of expression.  (UK Gay News, November 16, 2011)