Nordic Council criticism of Russian legislation against homosexual propaganda

"The Russian law banning 'homosexual propaganda' goes against the Nordic Council's core values of democracy, equality and freedom of speech. The Nordic Council will continue to protest against this at every opportunity until we see a change", says Karin Åström, Northwest Russian Observer in the Nordic Council Presidium.

Regnbågsflaggor“The Nordic Council lives by completely different values than Russia in this area, but it is important to find a balance in the debate so we do not close the door – continued dialogue is a prerequisite for being able to exert influence, says Karin Åström (S), who is a delegate at the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, BSPC in Pärnu, Estonia.

Åström is backed up by Marianne Berg (V), member of the Nordic Council Citizens’ and Consumer Rights Committee.

“Russia does not support human rights at all in passing laws that give legitimacy to discrimination and persecution of LGBT people. The matter must be raised at every meeting with Russian parliamentarians,” says Berg.

Benny Engelbrecht (S), Danish substitute in the Nordic Council, raised the question at the assembly of the Baltic Sea parliamentarians on Monday.

“More and more gay people in Russia today are being exposed to hate crimes and the new legislation limits their rights to free expression. The law is currently an obstacle to greater co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region and it is important that the BSPC keeps the matter on the agenda,” said Engelbrecht, who was also supported by the German MP Franz Thönnes.

The Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, attended by delegates from all the Baltic countries and parliamentary associations, lasts until Tuesday. Russia is represented by delegates from both the Federation Council and the State Duma.

The article is originally published on the Nordic Council of Ministers website.

Photo: Photo agency Colourbox

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