Tag Archives: Petersburg anti-gay law

Mark Knopfler Is a True Friend of the Russian People

This is what everyone who is in Mark Knopfler’s position should do. Not “try and talk some sense” into fascist homophobes like Vitaly Milonov, as the otherwise admirable Stephen Fry recently did. Or “stand in solidarity” with political prisoners Pussy Riot on a Moscow concert stage, as Madonna did, all the while raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in concert fees. The first tack violates the old anti-fascist “no platform” rule, while the second does that, too, while also generating tons of buzz for the Milonovites. More important, it rewards the relatively well-off strata of the Russian urban populace, the people who can afford tickets to Madonna and Knopfler concerts and the like, who are in fact the real bulwark of Putinism (rather than some imaginary post-Soviet “conservative” provincial “grassroots” post-proletariat), at least (but only at least) insofar as these people have been mostly absent from the fight against Putinism or any of its manifestations. In fact, if nothing else, Knopfler’s one-man boycott of their cities might alert otherwise “blissfully” unaware Petersburgers and Muscovites to the recent prosecutorial raids against NGOs in the country, which have included not only (as Knopfler mentions in his statement) Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, but hundreds of lesser organizations like the Finnish Institute in St. Petersburg, the Caritas Catholic charity’s support center for disabled children in the city, the Petersburg rights organizations Citizens Watch and Coming Out (Vykhod), as well as the NGO Development Center, the German-Russian Exchange, the Centre for Independent Social Research, the Institute for Information Freedom Development and the offices of the LGBT film festival Side by Side (to mention only a few), as well as branches of Alliance Française in several other major Russian cities.

We recently reflected, so to speak, on the odd news that Manifesta, the ultra-progressive European biennial of contemporary art, had chosen Petersburg—once the “cradle of three revolutions,” now a depressive semi-fascist dump ruled over by dreary officially titled bandits in bad suits who think that legislative homophobia and “Cossacks” are a terrific way of preventing their subject population from noticing the really obvious drawbacks in their continuing “governance” of the city—for its super-serious high-brow art hootenanny next year. Upon hearing this same news, Russian contemporary art curatorial doyenne Olga Sviblova commented, “[T]here’s no reason to get all stirred up about it being in St Petersburg. We have already spent 20 years living in a normal, free country, just the same as any others.” This is manifestly not the case, and it is only by pulling (temporarily, we hope) the plug on their supply of entertainment and cultural labor that people outside Russia who are in a position to do so can show real solidarity with Russian political prisoners, local NGOs, and other people and groups targeted by the Putinist police state.

arts-graphics-2008_1186108a

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www.markknopfler.com

Russia dates cancelled

Thursday – Apr 04, 2013

Mark’s June 7 show in Moscow and June 8 date in St. Petersburg have been cancelled. Ticket holders should contact their point of purchase for refunds.

Please see Mark’s official statement below:

Given the crackdown by Russian authorities on groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, I have regretfully decided to cancel my upcoming concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg in June. I have always loved playing in Russia and have great affection for the country and the people. I hope the current climate will change soon.

MK

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Violent Homophobia as State Policy in Russia

Group of Masked Men Attacks Gay Club
By Ezekiel Pfeifer
The Moscow Times
15 October 2012

Police started an inquiry Friday to identify a group of men who wreaked havoc in a Moscow gay club — attacking clubgoers, overturning tables and throwing bottles — which left four people hospitalized and others injured.

Police began to receive phone calls around 9:30 p.m. Thursday night from people saying a group of aggressive young men had entered the club 7FreeDays, located in a basement on Milyutinsky Pereulok in central Moscow, and started a fight, an unspecified police official told Interfax.

The club, which on its website describes itself as the “first gay- and lesbian-friendly bar in Russia,” was holding an event in honor of international Coming Out Day. Police arrived at the club after the agitators had fled the scene.

Police plan to study videos from nearby surveillance cameras, RIA-Novosti reported, but the attackers might be hard to identify because, for privacy reasons, there were no cameras inside the club.

Four people were hospitalized, the news agency said.

Unspecified police officials told Lifenews.ru that the attackers were dressed in dark clothes and surgical masks and that many of them had shaved heads.

A man in the club at the time of the attack told the online tabloid that acid was thrown on him. Other witnesses told the NTV television channel that a group of about 20 attackers struck clubgoers repeatedly over the course of five to six minutes, turned over tables and threw bottles, then fled.

“First I thought it was part of the show. … A bit later we realized it was not a show, but an attack,” witness Pavel Samburov told the channel.

The injured included a woman who was rushed to a hospital with a punctured eye after her glasses were smashed to pieces, NTV reported.

The attackers held the bartender at gunpoint, forced her face down on the floor, and started smashing the bar, Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Friday. About 70 people were at the party that evening, the statement said. It called on Russian authorities to investigate the attack.

Earlier last week, the People’s Council, a nationalist Orthodox group, called for the closure of all gay clubs in Moscow as part of an effort to prohibit the “promotion of homosexuality.”

The People’s Council said Moscow lawmakers should follow the example set by their counterparts in St. Petersburg and other Russian cities, where the “promotion of homosexuality to minors” had already been banned.

Moscow has about a dozen gay or nominally gay-friendly bars and clubs, according to various Internet listings. No one has claimed responsibility for the Thursday attack.

Gay rights leader Nikolai Alexeyev said in a commentary piece on Gayrussia.eu that he thought the attack took place because the perpetrators felt they would not be punished.

“The main reason for what happened is the feeling of complete impunity of the people who commit such crimes, which must be considered hate crimes — in this case, hate crimes against those who love others,” Alexeyev wrote.

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anticapitalist.ru

Let’s Stand Up to State-Sponsored Xenophobia!
A Statement by the Russian Socialist Movement

On October 11 in Moscow, a group of twenty armed thugs attacked the club 7FreeDays, where an event celebrating LGBT Coming Out Day was underway. After breaking into the club, the thugs assaulted partygoers before escaping the scene of the crime completely unimpeded.

The attack on 7FreeDays cannot be regarded as an isolated incident. Law enforcement authorities are always well informed about such groups of pogromists and their plans, so in this particular case we are dealing, if not with a deliberate provocation on the part of the police, then with their connivance. This attack has taken place amidst calls by United Russia deputies in the Moscow City Duma to adopt a law, similar to one already adopted in Petersburg, banning the “promotion of homosexuality” in Moscow, and proposals by Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman, that LGBT people should be banned from working in schools. Previously, when officials commented bans on marches and rallies defending LGBT rights, they argued that there was simply nothing for activists to defend, citing the presence of special LGBT nightclubs in the major cities. Now, however, their rhetoric has become tougher: we are confronted with calls and plans to actually reduce the labor rights of LGBT people, along with attacks on the places where they were permitted to openly express their personal feelings without the risk of encountering violent homophobia.

It is no accident that this flare-up of state-sponsored xenophobia is taking place amidst a new phase in the attack on the social rights of Russian citizens and the veritable abandonment by the authorities of their campaign promises. When governments want to take something away from their citizens, they begin vigorously supporting chauvinism and xenophobia. First, chauvinistic sentiments are artificially provoked in society by means of propaganda, and then the authorities pretend they are merely making concessions to the popular mood, thus concealing their own dirty deeds. Today, these deeds include cuts to the network of state educational institutions, the destruction of the system of free medical care, and increases in utility rates at a tempo that outpaces increases to state-sector wages and pensions.

Thus, opposing state-sponsored xenophobia and preventing growing popular discontent with the socio-economic situation from once again being channeled by the authorities into xenophobia and chauvinism is a task not only for LGBT activists.

The Russian Socialist Movement demands:

• a prompt investigation into the attack on 7FreeDays
• the repeal of all laws adopted recently in various regions of Russia that in one way or another limit the rights of LGBT people
• the resignation of all MPs and officials who have sponsored such legislative initiatives

We call on friendly leftist organizations, as well as all organizations and public figures who claim to belong to the opposition, to support our demands.

October 14, 2012
Russian Socialist Movement (RSD)

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Almost as if on cue, a “grassroots organization” with the grimly and comically appropriate name of Reaction held a rally outside Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral in Petersburg on Sunday against what it dubbed the “homo dictatorship.” The homely appearance of the “Reactionaries” supports the RSD’s argument that, as it pursues homophobia and other forms of xenophobia as semi-official policy, the Russian state pretends to be caving into purely popular sentiment.

 Stop, Gay Dictatorship! Today They Confiscated Dmitry Deneiko’s Cross, Tomorrow They’ll Arrest You!
[Deneiko is a nationalist arrested on suspicion of participating in a group assault on LGBT activists after an opposition rally in Petersburg on June 12.]

 

“God is the universe’s head homophobe.” Holy Martyr Daniil Sysoev

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Kafka on the Neva: Petersburg Officials Charge LGBT Activists under Anti-Gay Law after First Authorizing Then Banning Gay Pride Rally

Petersburg Gay Pride Event Banned, Organizers Charged under Anti-Gay Law
By Sergey Chernov, The St. Petersburg Times

On Thursday evening, City Hall banned the Petersburg gay pride rally it had authorized on Tuesday and formally charged organizers with violating the city’s infamous anti-gay law. But organizers said they would go ahead with the rally despite the ban.

Organizers said that City Hall explained to them that it had imposed the ban because local media had reported it as a “gay pride event (parade),” rather than a “march and a stationary rally against the violations of LGBT people’s rights,” as the event was described in the application submitted to City Hall last week.

The organizers were summoned to City Hall on Thursday and informed it was “not possible” to hold the event and that they would be held legally liable if they went ahead with it.

According to St. Petersburg Gay Pride chair Yury Gavrikov, who is also chair of the local LGBT rights organization Ravnopraviye (Equality), after handing them the official rejection notice, the head of City Hall’s law and order committee Leonid Bogdanov told him and another organizer, Sergei Volkov, that a law enforcement official wanted to talk with them.

A police officer then entered the room and charged the two activists with violating the law forbidding “promotion of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism among minors,” Gavrikov said.

Gavrikov and Volkov were told that they since they had distributed information about the previously authorized event to the website GayRussia.ru and local newspapers Nevskoye Vremya and Metro, they had “promote[d] the social equality of same-sex relationships and traditional marriage” among minors and thus violated the law.

“It means that first they authorized the event and then charged us with giving information about it to the media,” Gavrikov said late on Thursday, adding that he and Volkov had been detained in City Hall for more than two hours.

He also said that City Hall had insisted that all the eight people who signed the application for the event come to the meeting, but authorities had not specified that its purpose would be to ban the rally and charge them with violating the anti-gay law.

Although they already face substantial fines, St. Petersburg Gay Pride organizers said they would go ahead with the rally, scheduled for Saturday, July 7, despite the ban. They will announce the time and site at a press conference scheduled for noon on Friday.

Two previous gay pride events in St. Petersburg – on Palace Square, in 2010, and on Senate Square near the Bronze Horseman monument, in 2011 – were banned by City Hall on questionable grounds, but activists attempted to hold them anyway, resulting in arrests.

Last year, the event was attacked by a number of young men, some with their faces hidden. They managed to punch at least two LGBT activists before police arrested the activists themselves.

“The authorization was rescinded due to the fact that the format of the application did not correspond to the actual event that the LGBT activists were planning to hold,” St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko’s spokesman Andrei Kibitov told RIA Novosti.

Kibitov added that the ban was also influenced by complaints from the public. “A great number of calls and emails have been received not only from St. Petersburg, but from the other Russian cities as well, asking [us] to cancel the gay parade,” he was quoted as saying.

The “anti-propaganda” law, introduced as a bill by local United Russia  deputy Vitaly Milonov in November 2011 and signed into law by Governor Poltavchenko this past March, imposes fines of 5,000 rubles ($154) on individuals, 50,000 rubles ($1,537) on officials, and 250,000 to 500,000 rubles ($7,686–15,373) on organizations that violate the law.

The St. Petersburg Gay Pride march was initially authorized Tuesday to be held in the remote and mostly deserted Polyustrovsky Park at 2 p.m., Saturday, July 7. The site was suggested by City Hall as an alternative after it rejected all the more central routes and sites suggested by organizers.

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Anti-Gay Protesters Attack Immigrants in Petersburg (May 17, 2012)

Anti-Gay Protesters Attack Immigrants
By Sergey Chernov
The St. Petersburg Times
May 23, 2012

An authorized International Day Against Homophobia rally held in Petrovsky Park on the Petrograd Side of the city was broken up by ultranationalists and Orthodox radicals and ended with attacks and mass beatings Thursday [May 17].

A man shot at two demonstrators with a gun firing irritant fluid, and then a militant crowd smashed windows in two buses carrying Central Asian migrant workers — whom they initially mistook for departing LGBT activists — with stones and attacked those inside one of the buses when it came to a standstill.

Called the Rainbow Flash Mob, the rally — which had been officially authorized by the Petrogradsky district administration — was stopped about half an hour after its start time when the police, who were present in large numbers at the scene, told the organizers that they would not be able to hold back the anti-gay protesters for long, according to the LGBT rights group Vykhod (Coming Out).

Despite their massive presence, the police did not attempt to disperse an aggressive crowd that gathered near the rally site shouting homophobic slogans, firing rubber bullet and irritant guns and throwing objects.

Video footage from Piter.tv shows menacing-looking young men — many with their faces hidden by medical masks or black cloth — clapping rhythmically and chanting, “We will hang and bury you!”

Yevgeny Zubarev, a reporter with Piter.tv, said rubber bullets were also fired at journalists, as he was nearly hit by one.

OMON riot police officers stood in a line, preventing the radicals from entering the rally, but did nothing to stop the threats being made.

The anti-gay protesters, of whom there were more than 200, included Orthodox activists, nationalists and young men who resembled neo-Nazis or football hooligans. One young man, who held an offensive anti-gay sign, was wearing a scarf with the logo and name of the Young Guard, United Russia’s youth organization.

The first attack occurred soon after the rally began, when a man wearing a suit and tie and glasses discharged a pistol firing irritant fluid at a woman who was holding colored balloons, and then shot at a man who rushed to help her. A video on the Piter.tv web site shows him shooting at people and shouting “Sodomy is a deadly sin” as he was being led away by a police officer.

The police told the organizers to end the rally, which was scheduled to last from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., after about 30 minutes, arguing that officers would not be able to hold the crowd for long. Only two of the scheduled speakers had time to make speeches.

Releasing more than 500 colored balloons into the air, the 100-plus participants left the park by bus for safety reasons. Provided by the organizers and the police, three buses left unnoticed in the opposite direction to where the counter-demonstrators were. They took passengers to the offices of Coming Out, as well as to several faraway metro stations.

However, at about the same time, two other buses — which happened to be carrying Central Asian migrant workers — were driving past the site, and a group of about 60 young men and women ran after them shouting anti-gay insults, throwing stones and at least one smoke bomb at them until most of the windows were broken.

Apparently they did not realize who was inside until they caught up with them as the buses slowed down on the bridge over the Zhdanovka River. Discovering that the passengers were not LGBT activists, however, did not cause them to end their attack.

As the second bus stopped, having apparently mounted the curb, the attackers started to climb through the broken windows in the rear of the bus and punch those inside while at least one delivered several blows through a side window.

As the attack continued, the bus passengers started to jump out from one of the front side windows and run away. The bus then managed to drive off as the attackers dispersed in the neighborhood.

The police watched from a distance and did not intervene.

According to LGBT activist Maria Yefremenkova, a young man and woman who were late for the rally were attacked by the same people afterwards as they were walking toward Petrovsky Park wearing rainbow paraphernalia.

On Friday, the police spokesman said that the police had failed to find any of the victims of the attacks on the buses.

“The bus is owned by one of the city’s enterprises, it was carrying the enterprise’s workers,” Interfax quoted him as saying.

“The owner declined to file a report due to the insignificance of the damages.”

The attacks went unreported on the police’s web site, where the May 17 bulletin included incidents such as a pickpocket being caught on a tram and two attempts to sell alcohol without a license.

A probe has however been ordered by the St. Petersburg police chief to investigate the actions of the police during the event, the police spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

The man who discharged the pistol firing irritant fluid has reportedly been charged with hooliganism and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

There has been no reaction from the city authorities, although the city’s new ombudsman, Alexander Shishlov, released a statement Friday urging the police to find the organizers and participants of the attacks and instigate criminal proceedings against them.

The demo was supposed to be the first authorized LGBT rights event since the St. Petersburg law banning “the promotion of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism to minors” came into force in March.

Photos courtesy of Sergey Chernov and Ridus.ru.

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What a Pogrom Looks Like (Anti-Gay Protesters Attack Migrant Workers in Petersburg)

SP Times Online • May 18, 2012

The International Day against Homophobia rally held in Petrovsky Park on the Petrograd Side of the city was stopped less than half an hour after its start time Thursday due to the large presence of anti-gay opponents who shouted homophobic slogans, fired gas and pellet guns and threw objects. Participants in the rally, which had been officially authorized by the Petrogradsky district administration, left the park by bus. The counter-demonstrators, who threw stones, eggs and smoke bombs, then attacked two buses carrying migrant workers, whom they mistook for the departing LGBT activists, smashed the windows in them and attacked some of the passengers traveling in one of them. The police watched from a distance and did not intervene. The demo was supposed to be the first authorized LGBT rights event since the St. Petersburg law banning “the promotion of sodomy … to minors” came into force in March.

Photos by Sergey Chernov. See his complete photo reportage of yesterday’s pogrom in “Russia’s fascism capital” (©) here.

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Internet channel Piter.TV aired an even more horrifying and damning report on yesterday’s pogrom. We would have liked (so to speak) to repost it here, but that proved impossible, so watch it here if you dare.

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Petersburg Lawmaker Elena Babich: Gays Shouldn’t Be Seen (and Jews Should Keep Quiet, Too)

Confronted last week at a book signing in a downtown Petersburg bookstore by LGBT rights activists, Elena Babich, a deputy in the Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly representing the so-called Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and one of the most outspoken advocates of the anti-gay law proposed by Deputy Vitaly Milonov, was frank:

Babich said she had “very many” friends who are gay, but all of them led “covert” lifestyles, and advised that LGBT people should act so as not to be visible to the public. She then compared them to the Jewish community.

“It’s very important not to draw attention to oneself too much,” she said.

“One of the books that I have starts like this: The issue of same-sex love is somewhat like the Jewish problem. When there are too many Jews — in every field of management, on television, in the arts, everywhere — it ends badly for Jews themselves. They [Jews] always make efforts to regulate this aspect.”

Read the full story here.

 

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How can you help fight anti-gay laws in Russia? (international campaign)

"Deputies, start solving real problems!"

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www.gayrussia.eu

St. Petersburg:

How can you help fight anti-gay laws in Russia?

Join the international campaign

10,000 letters to the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations

Many of you have been asking us how you can help to fight the bill in the most effective way. This press release aims to answer your questions as well as shed more insight on the context.

In the last few days, GayRussia has been consulting with its activists, other Russian-based LGBT activist groups and legal specialists to think of how to best address the current circumstances.

First, you need to know that the bill is politically motivated: Russia’s parliamentary elections will take place on December 4 and targeting LGBT is a way to earn support from religious and nationalist organizations. The bill received support from Valentina Matviyenko, the former governor of the city who is now the speaker of the upper chamber of parliament. Politicians in Moscow have said that they are ready to implement a similar law in the Russian capital, as well as at the federal level.

Second, we want to stress that a ban on the promotion of LGBT rights in public spaces has de facto been enforced in Russia since 2005. Implementation of this law is only the materialization of what has been a sad reality for years. For several years, GayRussia has been denouncing the absence of freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of association for Russian LGBT. Over 300 public events for which GayRussia applied for permits have been banned, LGBT groups partnering with us have been denied registration by the government in several regions, and our activists have been often fined, arrested, convicted by courts and humiliated. They have brought twenty cases before the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations. Russian prosecutors have refused to open criminal investigations against Mufti Talgat Tadjudin, Oleg Betin, the governor of Tambov, and the former mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, for inciting hatred against or calling for the murder of LGBT. The Russian courts have even legalized the demeaning word “gomik” (faggot), which was used by Yuri Luzhkov when referring to gays.

Third, we see this law as a unique chance for the Russian LGBT community to re-mobilize itself, as it did in 2002, against an attempt to re-criminalize homosexuality, and in 2006, on the eve of the first Moscow Gay Pride event.

Russia’s LGBT community has historically been divided, and GayRussia would like to hope that today’s attacks by politicians in St. Petersburg will serve as a lesson for LGBT groups in St. Petersburg who have been appearing in the media since 2005 arguing that both gay pride events and gay marriage are provocations.

This anti-LGBT law is a chance for the Russian LGBT community to work against homophobic politicians and the government rather than to work against each other. Our enemies are the homophobes: LGBT rights campaigners should not attack each other. If we stand united, we have more chances than if we stand on two opposite sides where we only fuel the anti-gay rhetoric.

Fourth, the St Petersburg law is nothing new in Russia. Similar laws have already come into force in Ryazan (in 2006) and in Arkhangelsk (in 2011).  More frightening, it is being discussed in Moscow, and also in Ukraine. It has also been discussed in Lithuania in recent years.

GayRussia is the only Russian LGBT group which campaigned against the anti-gay law in Ryazan in 2009, when Nikolay Bayev and Irina Fedotova (Fet) were arrested and fined for holding up a banner in front of a local school stating that “Homosexuality is normal.” The Constitutional Court has already rendered a decision arguing that the law did not violate the constitution. The activists have lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and with the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva.

These two cases are today a chance to make anti-gay laws history not only in Russia but in the whole of Europe.

The faster the European Court of Human Rights considers the case of Nikolay Bayev vs. Russia, the faster we will get a decision. And this decision will be binding for Russia. More important, it will set a precedent that will apply to Ryazan, Arkhangelsk, Ukraine, Lithuania and other parts of Europe.

JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN!

At this stage, your support and your mobilization can help achieve a global solution to this problem, not only in St. Petersburg, but also in Ryazan, in Arkhangelsk, in Moscow, in Ukraine, and elsewhere.

By asking the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee to prioritize the case of Bayev and Fedotova, you can make a difference globally. GayRussia offers template letters that you can print and send. An envelope, a stamp, and a piece of paper is all you need!

If ten thousand of you write a letter to these two institutions, IT CAN MAKE A HUGE CHANGE. Each of your letters will be appended to the files of each case. The more letters are filed, the more chances we have of showing the importance of these cases.

Templates of letters to send are available here:

http://www.gayrussia.eu/en/campaigns/model_letters.php

It will then be up to us to do the job and ensure that we win the case. We assure you that our efforts to fight in court and win the case will be as tireless and unstoppable as our previous campaigns have been. Our aim is to defeat our Constitutional Court and our homophobic government. This year, GayRussia won the first-ever LGBT case in Russia (on the banning of the Moscow Pride event) in the European Court of Human Rights.

Today, GayRussia and other Russian LGBT groups — Equality St. Petersburg, Radio Indigo, Russian Community LGBT Grani, Marriage Equality, Moscow Pride Committee, Article 282, and Pride House Sochi — are launching the campaign

10,000 letters to the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations against Anti-Gay Laws in Russia

The campaign, which is launched under the patronage of the IDAHO Committee (France), has received support from the Kaleidoscope Trust (UK), Gay Liberation Network (USA), Outrage! and Peter Tatchell Foundation (UK). It has received media support from our longtime international media partners, Gay City News (USA), Yagg.com (France), UkGaynews.org.uk (United Kingdom), Queer.de (Germany), Gayby.net (Belarus), and will be chronicled on reporter Rex Wockner’s online networks.

It kicked off with an article by Nikolai Alekseev published in The Guardian.

QUOTES

“This campaign goes beyond Russia, our aim is to put a barrier to any attempts limiting freedom of speech for LGBT people in Europe,” said Nikolai Alekseev, founder of GayRussia and Moscow Pride.

“10,000 of you can make a change simply by buying a stamp and an envelope,” added Mr Alekseev.

“IDAHO stands united with our brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe to put an end to these anti-gay laws and we call on each of you to spend a few minutes of your time and write to the European Court and the UN to try to make a change,” said Louis-Georges Tin, President of the IDAHO Committee.

“The IDAHO Committee wrote to the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights committee asking both of these institutions to grant priority treatment to the case of Bayev and Fedotova and is calling on any LGBT organization and any individuals to do the same,” added Mr Tin.

“The Kaleidoscope Trust strongly supports this action and we are asking all our supporters to join this letter writing campaign. Politicians in all corners of the world like to attack LGBT people to win popularity. But we can take action now to demonstrate that our rights are as valid as everybody else’s and these legal challenges are a vital step,” said Lance Price, Director of the Kaleidoscope Trust.

“World leaders like Putin, Obama and Medvedev pretend they support human rights, but then support the violent suppression of ‘Occupy’ protesters, the murders of democracy activists in Egypt, and now, the escalation of attacks on the free speech rights of LGBTs and others in Russia.  It is our responsibility to forcefully denounce the hypocrisy of ‘our’ leaders, to directly organize against them, and to foil their plans for violence, exploitation and oppression by any means necessary,” said Andy Thayer, Gay Liberation Network co-founder.

“We are very proud to support Russia’s courageous, inspiring LGBT activists as they challenge these latest attacks on LGBT human rights and freedom of expression. We urge the European Union, United Nations and Council of Europe to ensure Russia’s compliance with the human rights conventions it has signed and pledged to uphold,” said Peter Tatchell from Outrage! in London.

What you should do right now:

  • Ask the European Court of Human Rights to give priority treatment to the case of Bayev vs Russia (67667/09). Use the template available here:

http://www.gayrussia.eu/en/campaigns/model_letters.php

  •  Ask the UN Human Rights Committee to give priority treatment to the case of Fedotova vs Russia (1932/2010). Use the template available here:

http://www.gayrussia.eu/en/campaigns/model_letters.php

Other things you can do:

  • Ask your minister of foreign affairs to raise the question of anti-gay laws with their Russian counterparts.
  • Ask Catherine Ashton (if you are a EU citizen) to remind Russia that LGBT rights are human rights and that anti-gay laws are unacceptable from a trading partner of the EU.
  • Ask the Council of Europe’s General Secretary to remind Russia of its obligation to strictly apply the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms that it ratified.

List of contact details if you want to take any action listed above

European Court of Human Rights

Fax: +33 3 88 41 27 30

Post: European Court of Human Rights, Council of Europe, 67075 Strasbourg, France

UN Human Rights Committee

Post: Palais Wilson, 52 rue des Pâquis, CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland

Thorbjorn Jagland

Council of Europe General Secretary

Phone:  +33 3 88 41 20 00

Post: Avenue de l’Europe , 67075 Strasbourg Cedex, France

Catherine Ashton

Vice President of the European Commission, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Email: COMM-SPP-HRVP-ASHTON@ec.europa.eu

Phone:  +32 2 584 11 11

Post: European External Action Service, 1046 Brussels, Belgium

ATTENTION! At the site www.pamfax.biz/en/ you can send your fax to Strasbourg absolutely for free! Use this opportunity if you want to send a fax instead of a letter!

And also keep us informed of your efforts by writing to us at: media(at)gayrussia.eu !

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"Deputies, don't incite hatred and homophobia!"

Photos from this past Sunday’s flash mob action in Arts Square against the Petersburg anti-gay bill, organized by Coming Out, courtesy of Sergey Chernov.

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