European Parliament condemns Russian clampdown

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European Union FlagIn a resolution adopted last week, the European Parliament strongly condemned the intensified clampdown on Russian civil society which will further limit work on LGBT people’s freedoms and rights there. The motion condemns the strengthened ‘Foreign Agents Law’.

In June 2014, Putin signed amendments to the law which allow the Ministry of Justice to register community groups or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as “foreign agents” at their own discretion, without the organisations’ consent. Organisations thus categorised will be subject to additional scrutiny by the government.

Dennis de Jong MEP

Dennis de Jong MEP

Hundreds of NGOs have been targeted, among which many organisations working on LGBTI rights.

Vice-President of the Intergroup-designate on LGBTI Rights in the European Parliament Dennis de Jong MEP, reacted: “LGBT people, and those who defend their rights, are under threat through legal efforts attempting to curtail their rights, as well as an increasingly homophobic climate in which violence against LGBT people goes unpunished.”

“Russia needs to be held accountable on these issues. I urge the European Commission and the External Action Service to continue raising these discriminatory and suppressive laws in their relations with Russia, to make sure that freedom of organisation for LGBT people is taken seriously.”

Tanja Fajon MEP

Tanja Fajon MEP

Vice-President of the Intergroup-designate on LGBTI Rights, Tanja Fajon MEP, added: “Organisations defending the rights of LGBT people are under attack in Russia, both by the Foreign Agents Law and the Anti-Propaganda Law.”

“For this reason, it is absurd that the ECR sought to delete just the reference to LGBTI activists in its text. This shows how out of touch their group has become with the real world. Thankfully, a reasonable majority voted to keep LGBTI activists in the resolution.”