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Russia balks at G8 countries’ support of gay rights

Gay rights got a boost from foreign ministers meeting this week in Washington, D.C.,  but Russia refused to go along.

Protester in St. Petersburg. (Photo courtesy of GayRussia.eu)
Protester in St. Petersburg. (Photo courtesy of GayRussia.eu)

The meeting was attended by foreign ministers from the G8 nations, which includes some of the world’s largest economies — specifically Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Among many other subjects, the G8 foreign ministers agreed in a public statement:

The Ministers reaffirmed that prohibition of discrimination on any ground, including race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, is enshrined in international human rights law.

Ministers reaffirmed that human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all individuals, male and female, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals. These individuals often face death, violence, harassment and discrimination because of their sexual orientation in many countries around the world.

Russia refused to go along with that position on discrimination against LGBT people.  It stated, in disagreement:

The Russian Federation disassociates itself from this language given the absence of any explicit definition or provision relating to such a group or such persons as separate rights holders under international human rights law.

The Russian city of St. Petersburg passed a law March 7 that bans activities defined as “gay propaganda” that would promote gay culture among minors. Gay rights activists who protested against that law were arrested and charged with violating the law by their protests.

The Russian parliament is considering a proposal to extend the St. Petersburg ban nationwide.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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