UN expresses deep concern over Russia toughening its 'LGBTQ propaganda' law
Rights campaigners say that new amendments in effect criminalises any public mention of same-sex couples
The United Nations said on Friday that it was "deeply concerned" by moves of Russian legislature to toughen up the notorious 'LGBTQ propaganda' law. The UN has urged Russian lawmakers to repeal the legislation.
On Thursday, the lower house of the Russian parliament (the Duma) voted to strengthen the law.
Rights campaigners say that new amendments in effect criminalise any public mention of same-sex couples.
The proposals "broaden a ban on any discussion and sharing of information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and their human rights", UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.
The new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, is "deeply concerned" by the move, "which infringes even further on international human rights norms and standards", she said.
UN human rights experts have condemned the existing law as "discriminatory, violating fundamental rights to freedom of expression and leading to an increase in hate speech, hate crimes and abuse, including against children", said Shamdasani.
"The legislative amendments worsen this situation by broadening the scope of the law to a blanket ban on all communications on the subject," she added.
Turk is appealing to legislators, who will consider the proposals in further two readings, to reject the amendments, she said.
Turk also notes that exclusion, stigmatisation and discrimination of any group within a society "is corrosive, is a root cause of violence, and has a negative impact on society as a whole", Shamdasani added.
(With inputs from agencies)
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