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Venice Commission: Bans on Homosexual Propaganda Flout International Human Rights Standards
Freedom House welcomes the Venice Commission's opinion concluding that prohibitions of so-called homosexual propaganda do not meet international standards. According to the opinion of the group of international and constitutional experts, bans on homosexual propaganda are discriminatory, not justified by the facts, and ambiguous, and do not meet obligatory standards set by the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Russian State Duma recently passed a law banning propaganda of "nontraditional sexual relations," a euphemism used in Russia for homosexuality. The Russian law, while not finalized, is expected to pass soon. Similar laws are under consideration in Ukraine and Moldova and are already in force in 10 Russian regions. The consideration of the laws in Russia and Ukraine has fueled hatred against LGBT people, and has been accompanied by an alarming number of violent attacks against them.
The Venice Commission countered Russian and Ukrainian officials' claims that these laws are not discriminatory and meant to defend children and traditional values, noting that the measures are clearly aimed at curtailing certain peoples rights "by punishing their expression and promotion." The Venice Commission also concluded that such provisions are fundamentally incompatible with the values of the European Convention on Human Rights as well as international human rights standards.
Freedom House calls on the Russian authorities to heed the Venice Commission's recommendation that anti-propaganda laws that are already in force be repealed and those under consideration be rejected. Similarly, Ukraine and Moldova should follow the opinion of the Venice Commission and cease consideration of these repressive laws.
Blog: Russia Banishes LGBT People to ‘Fields and Forests’
Press Release: Bans on LGBTI Rallies Support Homophobia in Russia and Ukraine
Freedom Alert: Russia Must Reject Proposed Laws that Promote Intolerance