On International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia the Equal Rights Trust calls for increased protection of LGBT+ individuals in Russia. Our call is made in light of reports of increasing discrimination and persecution in the country, including in particular the recent horrific reports of the torture and murder of LGBT+ individuals in Chechnya. These reports demand an urgent response. The Equal Rights Trust has been working with LGBT+ groups in Russia for many years. We have noted that increasingly restrictive legislation and inadequate court protection have played a significant role in perpetuating this climate of intolerance and discrimination. We all have a responsibility to act.
Last year, we exposed the inadequacy of Russian laws on LGBT+ rights and the maintenance of discriminatory “anti-propaganda” laws, and analysed the failure of the Russian judiciary to protect LGBT+ rights. Our report Justice or Complicity? LGBT Rights and the Russian Courts found that LGBT+ rights are inadequately provided for in national laws and that the rights of LGBT+ persons have been protected in just a handful of cases.
Today, we call on the government of Russia to take immediate measures to prevent further homophobic attacks and rights violations in Chechnya and throughout Russia and to investigate crimes committed. Furthermore, we call on the government to review its laws, removing provisions that discriminate against LGBT+ individuals and ensuring equality before the law regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
We also call on the judiciary to fulfill their special responsibility to safeguard those at risk and to do so in accordance with standards established by international and regional law on the rights to equality and non-discrimination.
The Equal Rights Trust works with lawyers and service providers in Russia to ensure that LGBT+ individuals are treated with equality and dignity. To this end, in March, we published two practical guides to assist those providing legal and other services in Russia. The first, a Best Practice Guide for Lawyers, assists lawyers providing advice and support to LGBT+ clients who face persecution. The second, a Best Practice Guide for Service Providers, aims to inform professionals working in various service provision sectors on how to respect LGBT+ rights. For example, it aims to help doctors to understand whether their transgender patients have the right to change their gender on their birth certificates and teachers to understand how measures taken in schools can promote equality for students.
We call on these practitioners to redouble efforts to work with and on behalf of LGBT+ individuals to ensure the best possible outcomes for LGBT+ rights.
The International Community
Lastly, we call on others around the world working to promote equality and non-discrimination to support our call for greater action to protect LGBT+ persons in Russia. Help further our message by sharing this page with others and inviting them to join our email list.
To understand more about the situation in Russia, download:
Justice or Complicity? LGBT Rights and the Russian Courts
Правосудие или осуждение? ПРАВА ЛГБТ В РОССИЙСКОЙ СУДЕБНОЙ ПРАКТИКЕ
The Equal Rights Trust is committed to continuing to work with its partners to pursue equality for LGBT+ persons in Russia. In an increasingly hostile environment, the work is complex but crucial. To support us you can donate to our work or join our Equality Volunteers Network.