Member of the European Parliament protests Russia’s federal censorship bill

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Today the LGBT Intergroup joined non-governmental organisations and other demonstrators outside the Russian embassy in Brussels. They rallied against Bill 6.13.1, which would make it a crime across the Russian Federation to express support for LGBT people.

Michael Cashman demonstrating against RussiaNine Russian regions already make it a crime to say that homosexuality is normal. Regional laws first adopted since 2006 and more frequently in recent years foresee both fines and prison penalties. Bill 6.13.1, which would extend these penalties to Russia’s 83 regions, foresees fines of up to 500,000 rubles (€12,400).

Since these laws came into force, Russian organisations such as Coming Out Saint Petersburg and GayRussia reported an increase in violence against LGBT people.

The LGBT Intergroup joined organisations including Amnesty International, ILGA-Europe and Outrage! Belgium outside the Russian embassy in Brussels. Russia’s parliament was scheduled to examine Bill 6.13.1 today, but the debate appears to have been postponed.

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Russian Vice-President Dmitry Medvedev had previously declared these laws weren’t necessary.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup present at the demonstration, said: “I’m proud that as many as 20 organisations and 70 people took part in today’s demonstration. It’s a vivid reminder that the fight for others’ human rights is our own fight, and together we can overcome intolerance and the inhumanity done to others.”

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“The demise of the Soviet Union should remind Mr Putin that dictators and transgressors of human rights always lose in the end.”

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “I’m relieved today’s debate in the Duma was postponed, and I hope this is a sign that the Russian Federation takes its international obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights seriously.”

“Russian people, whether they are LGBT, feminists, political activists or anything else, all deserve freedom of speech. Vladimir Putin’s party should stop undermining itself by hitting—literally!—on minorities.”

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