ECHR: Russian law is discriminatory and violates human rights

Yesterday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia’s Section 28 style ‘anti-propaganda’ legislation is in breach with human rights.

The federal law was adopted in 2013 and bans the “promotion” or “propaganda” of homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism.

The Court found that the law breaches the right to freedom of expression (Article 10) and the prohibition of discrimination (Article 14).

The Court found that although the laws in question were aimed primarily at ‘protecting’ young people, the limits of those laws had not been clearly defined and their application had been arbitrary. Furthermore, it held that by adopting such laws the authorities reinforce stigma and prejudice and encourage homophobia, which is incompatible with the notions of equality, pluralism and tolerance inherent in a democratic society.

Vice-chair of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, reacted: “The judgment is an important precedent in the European context, establishing that laws may never discriminate against a specific group of people.

“We should also look at EU Member States: Lithuania’s anti-propaganda law, which is similar to the Russian one, is still in place, while the European Commission refuses to step in.

“Lithuania is having no regard to human rights, which are at the heart of the European project. This is unacceptable. It is time for the European Commission to protect the rights of all Lithuanians, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex Lithuanians. They should ensure that this case law is also implemented in the EU context.”

 

Read the ECHR judgement here.