Kazakhstan and Russia Should Scrap Proposed Anti-LGBTI Laws | Freedom House

Kazakhstan and Russia Should Scrap Proposed Anti-LGBTI Laws

Washington

Freedom House is deeply concerned about a new wave of discriminatory bills against LGBTI rights in Kazakhstan and Russia, as parliaments in both countries have proposed new draconian restrictions on the rights of LGBTI people.

On October 2, Bakhtybek Smagul, a member of Kazakhstan’s ruling Nur-Otan party, called on the parliament to outlaw “homosexual relations” and the dissemination of information about homosexuality, in addition to closing gay clubs. A day earlier in Russia, a draft law allowing the government to deprive LGBTI people of their parental rights was passed out of committee in Russia’s Duma and will go to the full Duma for consideration in the spring of 2014.

Supporters of both Russia’s and Kazakhstan’s proposals claim the anti-LGBTI measures are necessary to protect traditional and family values. Smagul claims that Kazakhstan “has no future without the family,” and “how men of different orientations are going to protect [the] borders” and invest in Kazakhstan’s demography is a matter of national security. In Russia, a ban on propaganda among minors of so-called “non-traditional sexual relations” passed earlier this year. A draft law in Russia (№ 338740-6) allowing authorities to take children away from their LGBTI parents is under review by regional governments in Russia.

"Increasingly, we are seeing leaders in authoritarian countries vilifying LGBTI people for their own domestic political purposes, which has resulted in increased discrimination and violence against LGBTI people and serious violations of the freedoms of association, assembly, and expression," said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. "Governments seeking to protect children should take actual steps to protect their well being, such as ending the Russian ban on the adoption of vulnerable children by Americans, rather than scapegoating LGBTI people."

Both proposals are in violation of LGBTI people’s fundamental rights and of Russia’s and Kazakhstan’s international human rights obligations. Freedom House urges lawmakers in both countries to immediately drop consideration of these bills.

Kazakhstan is rated Not Free in Freedom of the World 2013, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2013, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2012. Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2013, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2013, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2012.

To learn more about Kazakhstan and Russia, visit:

Freedom in the World 2013: Russia

Freedom of the Press 2013: Russia

Special Report: Contending with Putin’s Russia

Nations in Transit 2013: Russia

Freedom on the Net 2012: Russia

Freedom in the World 2013: Kazakhstan

Nations in Transit 2013: Kazakhstan

Freedom of the Press 2013: Kazakhstan

Freedom on the Net 2012: Kazakhstan

Blog: Freedom at Issue

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy in human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhousedc) and stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our RSS feeds, newsletter and our blog.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhouse). Stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our newsletter.