UN to consider Russia's laws on propaganda of homosexuality to minors in July 2012 Geneva Session
First success of the International Campaign launched by GayRussia
GayRussia and its Russian partners are pleased to inform you that the campaign, which the organization launched in the last days - thanks to all the letters and faxes you submitted to the UN - already paid off!
In the 21st century, the world can still be moved with faxes, stamps and envelopes!
GayRussia has been informed today by the Human Rights Committee's secretariat at the UN that the case of Irina Fedotova who is challenging her arrest for "propaganda of homosexuality to minors" in Ryazan, against Russia will be considered during the Committee’s July 2012 session in Geneva. In accordance with the Rules of the Committee there will be no public hearing.
This is going to be a major step in Eastern Europe especially in the light of the recent attempt by St. Petersburg's Parliament to pass a similar law than in Ryazan where Irina Fedotova was arrested and charged. This is also going to be a major response to all other countries (Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia) and Russian regions which have been discussing similar bills and in particular to the region of Arkhangelsk which enforced a similar law last month.
Although the decisions of the UN are not legally binding (this is a difference with those of the European Court of Human Rights), they carry an important and symbolical value.
If we win, it will also be the first time that Russia is officially defeated at the UN over an LGBT issue. It will also be a precedent for the future cases at Human Rights Committee.
Some of you might know Irina Fedotova as she is one of our long standing activists, but she is also the first Russian to challenge, together with her wife, Russia's ban on same-sex marriage at the European Court. The couple was able to officially register their marriage in Toronto in October 2009 but were denied to do it in Moscow. Their marriage was GayRussia's 2009 campaign.
"We would like to express our deepest thanks and gratitude to all those who supported our campaign, asking the UN's Human Rights Committee to consider the case of Irina Fedotova," said Nikolai Bayev, acting head of GayRussia.
“The fight continues, we hope the European Court of Human Rights to follow the UN and open a similar case of Nikolai Bayev v. Russia as this is technically the only way to reverse the decision of the Russian Constitutional Court which held the ban of homosexual propaganda to minors constitutional”, said Nikolai Alekseev, Founder of GayRussia.
GayRussia's campaign against laws prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality was launched in 2009 and followed a duel tactic: several public actions to publicize the issue and raise awareness in Russia and around the world, and a legal challenge through Russian Courts and International Courts to get a decision which will result in reversing these laws.
Once again, many thanks to the international organizations who associated with this campaign, IDAHO Committee, Kaleidoscope Trust, Gay Liberation Network, Outrage! and the Peter Tatchell Foundation, and also to our media partners who relayed the campaign, UkGayNews.org.uk, Yagg.com, Queer.de, Gay City News, and Gay.by.
Gay Rights. No Compromise.
TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1993, President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree which repealed the law forbidding male homosexuality. Starting from 2006, Russian gay rights activists started to celebrate this date by attempting to organize an annual gay rights march known as Moscow Gay Pride. The first edition was banned and marred with violence. It was reffered as the first Russian Stonewall.
This day was founded in 2004 by French Academic Louis-Georges Tin to mark the anniversary of the declassification of homosexuality from the list of disease by the World Health Organization. Russian LGBT have been celebrating this day every year since 2005 under the leadership of Project GayRussia which was itself founded on May 17, 2005. GayRussia is Russia's coordinator of IDAHO.
Following Moscow in May 2009, Minsk was the second capital to host the Slavic Gay Pride. The March was banned and marred with violence but it did not prevent two dozens of Pride organizers from Moscow, Minsk and St. Petersburg to march over 300 meters waiving a 10meters long rainbow flag. 11 participants including some of the organizers were brutally arrested by police forces.
2009 marked the launch of GayRussia's campaign for the opening of same-sex union of gays and lesbians in Russia. While the Constitutional Court already expressd the opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman, activists believe that the lack of partnership or marriage for gay couples is a strong point to impose legislative changes via a decision of the European Court of Human Rights.
The five-judge panel of the Grand Chamber of the Court rejected the appeal of the Russian Federation in the Moscow Pride Ban case. The decision given on October 21 is final. By repeatedly banning Gay Pride Marches as well as other LGBT themed public action, Russia breached the European Convention on Human Rights.