The Russian Justice Ministry has filed a motion with the country’s Supreme Court to categorise the “international LGBT movement” an extremist organisation, it emerged on Friday.
The statement, published on the ministry’s website, says that the activities of the “LGBT movement” were found to “incite social and religious discord” without specifying how. Nor was the term “international LGBT movement” defined.
The Supreme Court is due to hear the case on 30 November.
On 13 November, Russia’s deputy Minister of Justice Andrey Loginov presented a report on human rights in Russia to a United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva in which it was claimed that there is no discrimination against LGBT people in Russia.
“In Russia, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited, as is any other discrimination, both at constitutional level and by law,” Loginov told the UN.
A law banning “LGBT propaganda” came into force in Russia on 5 December last year under which any positive or neutral descriptions of “non-traditional relationships” in any media format is considered “propaganda”. A month after the law came into force, Roskomnadzor, the country’s media watchdog, had blocked more than 300 websites on the grounds that their content represented “LGBT propaganda”.
Many commentators focused on the bizarre wording of the motion: “There is no international LGBT movement. It simply doesn’t exist. It’s been dreamt up by the Justice Ministry”, Alexandra Miroshnikova, a spokesperson for SOS North Caucasus, which helps LGBT people in the region, told Novaya Europe.
“Protecting LGBT rights [is now considered] an extremist activity, meaning that our work will become not only more difficult, but almost impossible. All our employees will be at risk of prosecution for being involved with an extremist organisation,” she said.