Russia wants to ban the LGBT movement for extremism

Russia wants to ban the LGBT movement for extremism
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The Russian Ministry of Justice presented a motion to the Supreme Court this Friday to ban what it called an 'international LGBT+ movement' as "extremist." According to the petition, they discovered that the activities of the LGBT movement within Russia “incite social and religious discord” in violation of the country's anti-extremism laws, the ministry said in a statement.

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It was not immediately clear how Russian authorities are expected to prove the existence of "an organized global LGBT+ movement" as a lobby. People found guilty of participation in an “extremist” group face long prison sentences.

“In practice, this probably would mean that person could be imprisoned for having a rainbow flag on their avatar“, independent investigative journalist Farida Rustamova told The Moscow Times portal, accusing Russian authorities of “inventing” the formal movement.

“LGBT+ people are a highly vulnerable group that faces numerous social challenges. In recent years, LGBT+ organizations have struggled to address these issues in an extremely hostile environment. Activists face pressure from the state, as well as homophobic and transphobic groups, and often endure physical attacks,” one of the few prominent community activists still inside Russia, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Moscow Times. due to fears of reprisals.

"This ban would deprive LGBT+ organizations of the opportunity to operate and expose their activists and employees to the risk of criminal prosecution." [...] "Essentially, it would involve a criminal process based solely on one's orientation or identity."

Russia's Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on the Justice Ministry's petition on November 30. If approved, the ruling would equate the so-called “LGBT+ movement” with groups such as jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Russia, which presents itself as a moral bulwark against the decline of the West, has multiplied measures against LGBT+ communities in recent years, claiming to defend children against conduct that they consider unacceptable. For human rights defenders, President Vladimir Putin and his regime are carrying out a homophobic and transphobic policy.

In 2013, Russia banned “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” toward minors. Last year, President Vladimir Putin expanded the law to include public displays of nontraditional relationships and lifestyles for people of any age, not just minors. Homosexuality was a crime in Russia until 1993 and was considered a mental illness until 1999.

"The Russian power forgets once again that the LGBT+ community are people, citizens of this country as well as others. And now they not only want to make us disappear from public space but also ban us as a social group," reacted Dilia Gafurova, director of the foundation. Sphere" to defend the rights of LGBT+ people. "It is a typical measure of repressive and non-democratic regimes: persecute the most vulnerable," she added, promising to "fight" for the rights of that group in Russia.

With information from AFP | dmr

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