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“Stop Hate Crime! NGO Approaches to Victim Assistance and Monitoring in Europe” efforts in the St Petersburg City Legislative Assembly to introduce prohibiting the so-called "propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, transgenderism to minors"
22-25 November 2011, Berlin
Vadim Tulpanov, Chair of St Petersburg Legislative Assembly; Georgy Poltavchenko (Governor of St Petersburg), Alexei Kozyrev (Ombudsman for Human Rights - St Petersburg) Vladimir Lukin (Ombudsman for Human Rights - Russian Federation).
1. We the undersigned are shocked by the introduction by legislative assembly members of the "United Russia" party to introduce legal measures to prohibit the so-called "propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, transgenderism to minors" and "pedophilia", respectively.
2. We believe that the association of two articles (7.1 and 7.2) with the same penalties and sanctions equates "homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people" with the perpetration of illegal and immoral and criminal sexual offences against children is a slur and propaganda against LGBT people. We, the undersigned are utterly opposed to sexual offences against children.
3. This association of "homosexuals" with sexual offences against children is another part of propaganda against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people which will spread misinformation and generate negative attitudes and “hate crime” including violence against LGBT people within St Petersburg and beyond. This is consistent with the experience in other countries around the world. Moreover, the ban of disseminating information on sexual orientation and gender identity may also hamper advocacy for effective investigation of hate crime against LGBT people.
4. We are concerned that similar laws have been passed in Ryazan and Archangelsk and that members of the Legislative Assembly have suggested a Federal law, which will extend such tragic consequences across the whole of the Russian Federation and lead to the further isolation and suffering of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
5. We believe that such laws that prohibit open discussion on any subject are a denial of freedom of speech and therefore of democracy and are inconsistent with the UN International Bill of Human Rights, the European Convention for Human Rights, and place Russia in breach of her international treaty obligations.
6. Sexual orientation and gender identity are fundamental characteristics, and no one should be discriminated against on any ground.
7. We call on the Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly to dismiss the proposed bill and instead focus its energies on adopting comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation and gender identity among the protected categories. This law must also be replicated on a federal level.