Governor of St. Petersburg
Dear Governor Georgy Poltavchenko,
I would like express my concern about the undermination of basic human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in St. Petersburg, a partner city to Oslo.
In November 2011, the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg voted in the first reading in favour of the amendment to the Law on Administrative Violations, which aims to introduce fines for “public actions aimed at propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderness amongst minors”. This amendment will adversely affect the freedom of expression and assembly of individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, as well as the activities and operations of LGBT - organizations. The amendment will also violate the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and the rights to non-discrimination and equality before the law enshrined in numerous international human rights treaties to which Russia is a party. In addition, this amendment will violate the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which prohibits discrimination and guarantees the right to freedom of expression.
The proposed amendments will also prevent young LGBT people from accessing or sharing information that is vital to their health and well-being, including information about social groups, support networks, and sexual and reproductive health. This would have a detrimental effect on the physical and mental health of young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.
The stated aim of the amendment is to protect children from harm and violations of their human rights. However, I believe that the law as currently formulated will not protect children, but will instead constitute a violation of the human rights of many, including of children and young people in St. Petersburg. This amendment, if passed, will further entrench discrimination, hostility, and in some cases even violence against LGBT - individuals.
I respectfully ask the authorities of St. Petersburg not to vote for or sign into law the amendment banning “public actions aimed at propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderness amongst minors.”
I also ask you to ensure that LGBT - individuals and organisations defending LGBT - rights are able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association.