Russia bans the LGBTI movement

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  • LGBTI demonstration in Russia.
    LGBTI demonstration in Russia. . Source: ILGA.

Since November 30, the Russian Supreme Court considers the group's activism extremist.

During the year 2023, 32 member states of the United Nations arrested and prosecuted LGBTI people for consensual sexual acts. Russia is one of these states. Last November 30, they took a step further and the supreme court of Russia banned what it called the "international public lgbti movement" as an extremist movement. This ban is being carried out based on a demand from the Russian Ministry of Justice and the decision was made in a closed-door hearing.

From this prohibition, LGBTI activism is exposed to arrest and prosecution and this includes people and entities, whether they are from the federal territory or another foreign country. Russia has added the LGBTI movement to the list of banned and extremist groups, such as Jehovah's Witnesses or organizations linked to the opposition Aleksei Navalni such as the Anti-Corruption Fund, the Fund for the Protection of Citizens' Rights .

Organizations such as ILGA are affected by this ban and, in this regard, made public a statement of support for LGBTI organizations and individuals in which they emphasize that "ILGA-Europe condemns this abominable attack against LGBTI people and groups of human rights in Russia. This ban is unprecedented in our region and outlaws organizations and individuals who have endured harsh state-led attacks since 2013, both targeting and targeting LGBTI rights to civil society and independent media".

ILGA has been denouncing the defenseless situation of the LGTBI movement in Russia for years, as well as the violence it is subjected to. In the latest report 'Our identities under arrest', made before the ban, it collects facts that affect activists and LGTBI people that already show the situation of persecution and restrictions of freedom in which they find themselves.

Other human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have denounced this court decision. Marie Struthers, Amnesty International's Eastern Europe and Central Asia director, said: “This shameful and absurd decision represents a new front in the Russian authorities' campaign against the LGBTI community. It will affect countless people, and its repercussions will be catastrophic." On the prospects that open up, he added: "There is virtually no doubt that the persecution of LGBTI activists will result, undoing decades of tireless and courageous work and threatening to promote and legitimize entirely new levels of violence against LGBTI people throughout Russia”.

This banning decision is the last but not the only one that the LGTBI group has received in recent years. In 2013, what was called the Anti-Gay Propaganda Law was approved, in which any informative message about relationships between people of the same sex that was directed at minors was sanctioned. In 2022, this law was also extended to adults, prohibiting content that referred to "non-traditional" sexual relations.

Finally, prior to this new ban, in July 2023, Russia banned sex change interventions and gender change on identity documents, as well as other rights that were cut for trans people. With this new ban from November, LGTBI activism faces arrests and trials with the possibility of imprisonment for up to 5 years but also the ban on advertising elements and symbols of LGTBI associations.

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