The United Nations Human Rights Committee is alarmed by Russia’s failure to protect LGBT folks, along with a host of other persecuted peoples including journalists, activists, prison inmates and others who are at odds with authorities.
According to an October 30 Associated Press report, the Committee claims that abuses against these populations include torture and murder. The 18- member U.N panel of independent experts said it had received reports of police harassment and of people being assaulted or killed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Though homosexuality was decriminalized in the country in the 1990s, the panel alleged that “systematic discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation” still exists. Many Russian officials, and large measures of the Russian populace, oppose the gay rights movement and Pride demonstrations, which Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhhkov has called “satanic gatherings.”
The panel asked the Kremlin to consider legal reforms, including narrowing the broad definitions of terrorism and extremism under national law, granti- ng appeals rights to people forced into psychiatric care by the judicial system, and decriminalizing defamation cases against journalists.