PACE calls on Russia & Ukraine to abandon “homosexual propaganda” laws
On Friday the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) urged the Russian Council of the Federation to reject the law on so-called "Propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors” and Ukraine’s Parliament not to pursue the examination of the draft law on the prohibition of so-called "homosexual propaganda”. The Assembly particularly deplored the unanimous approval by the Russian Duma of the draft law which, if approved also by the Council of the Federation, would be the first piece of legislation on the prohibition of homosexual propaganda being introduced at national level in Europe.
Adopting a report on tackling discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, based on the report by Håkon Haugli (Norway, SOC), the members of the Assembly expressed their clear view that these laws and draft laws, which are at variance with freedom of expression and the prohibition of discrimination on account of sexual orientation and gender identity, “risk legitimising the prejudice and hostility which is present in society and fuelling a climate of hatred against LGBTs.”
The parliamentarians also called on the Parliament of Lithuania not to pursue the examination of proposals to introduce administrative penalties for so-called ‘public denigration of constitutional moral values and of constitutional fundamentals of family life’. The authorities of the Republic of Moldova should comply with judicial decisions quashing legislation on the prohibition of so-called homosexual propaganda, and repeal it if they have not yet done so.
The resolution highlights a deep concern vis-à-vis homophobic statements by politicians and other personalities. Far from being manifestations of freedom of expression, these statements “amount to hate speech and incitement to hostility, discrimination and violence.”
Among the measures which the Assembly calls on member states to introduce are the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity, the organisation of public campaigns against incitement to harassment or violence on any grounds, and setting up complaint and support mechanisms for the victims of homophobic violence.