Press Release by the Russian National GLBT Center 'Together' on an attempt to recriminalize gay sex in Russia
On 22 April 2002 a group of parliamentarians from "People's Deputy" faction of State Duma submitted for consideration of the lower chamber of the Russian parliament a draft law that criminalizes sexual intercourse between consenting adult males. "The unnatural satisfaction of sexual desire by one male with another male" will carry a sentence in jail from one to five years. Prosecution of homosexual acts was abolished in Russian Federation under the pressure from the Council of Europe on May 27, 1993.
Russian National GLBT Center 'Together' strongly condemns this initiative of the group of deputies to restore criminal punishment for sexual relations between consenting adult men and considers it an attempt to invade the private lives of Russian citizens. This proposal is a gross violation of the right to privacy, guaranteed by Article 12 of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 8 of The European Convention on Human Rights and Article 23.1 of the Constitution of the Russian federation. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights repeatedly stressed the inadmissibility of criminal or other restrictions on sexual relations between consenting adults. The proposed bill is also a violation of the international commitments of Russian Federation before Council of Europe and other international organizations; as stated in Recommendation 1474 (2000), Parliament Assembly of Council of Europe condemned any form of homophobia propagated by "certain political and religious leaders".
The most hypocritical in this respect is the behavior of one of the authors of the proposed law, Deputy Dmitry Rogozin, who is also a leader of Russian Parliamentary Delegation to Council of Europe. His conduct is a clear-cut example of "double standard": at the Council of Europe meetings he demonstrates his pretended agreement with basic democratic principles; but in the Russian Parliament he defies those principles, trying to steal the right to privacy from at least of half a million of Russian gays and bisexuals (a modest one percent of Russian adult male population).
The declared goals of the proposed law (such as combating venereal diseases and the spread of AIDS) shows total incompetence of its authors in the subject, their attempt to confuse and substitute the real causes and consequences. Their real motives are quite obvious: to manipulate the public opinion in order to distract its attention from real causes of the AIDS epidemic in Russia (drug abuse and lack of sexual education) and to single out the Russian gay men as scapegoat. Such populist methods, based on religious chauvinism can't be appropriate for the people elected to the highest legislature organ of the country.
We urge parliamentarians of the Council of Europe, Russian and international human rights organizations to support condemnation of this law draft and to achieve its recall by the authors of such intolerant initiative. Discussion of this matter on public forums showed that the hope of this group of deputies on irrationality and uneducated Russian citizens were not justified: behind the fake facade of good intentions many citizens saw hypocrisy, intolerance and homophobia.
We won't put up with an apparent violation of human rights offered by this draft of the law. If this law is passed, we will file complaints with the Constitutional Court of Russian Federation and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Russian National GLBT Center 'Together' was founded in 1997. The main goal of the center is sharing accurate information on homosexuality and assist to the development of public tolerance towards representatives of LGTB group. To serve this goal Center supports the gay site Gay.Ru which is updated on a daily basis. Since the opening of the site five years ago it was visited by more then ten million people. Gay center received its official registration with Russian authorities in January 2002.
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