Russia rejects Council of Europe demand to repeal country’s so-called ‘gay propaganda law’ & accuses body of ‘abuse of power’

Russia rejects Council of Europe demand to repeal country’s so-called ‘gay propaganda law’ & accuses body of ‘abuse of power’

Russia has rejected calls from the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance to repeal the country’s controversial ban on the dissemination of information about “non-traditional” sexualities among minors.

Speaking to TASS news agency, Ivan Soltanovsky, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, called the commission’s demand an “abuse of power,” noting that Moscow does not feel it should follow recommendations it gives on the treatment of sexual minorities.

The Council of Europe is an organization of 47 European nations, including Russia. On Tuesday, it published a statement calling for Moscow to “abolish the legal ban on the provision of information about homosexuality to minors,” in line with a European Court of Human Rights ruling in 2017.

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The Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) “exceeded its authority in preparing the report,” Soltanovsky said.

“Protection of sex minorities is not part of its mandate. In this regard, calls to repeal the legal ban on the dissemination of information on homosexuality to minors as a matter of priority are legally null and void and constitute interference in Russia’s internal affairs,” he claimed.

In 2013, Russia enacted what is known colloquially as the “gay propaganda law,” which implemented restrictions on the endorsement of “non-traditional sexual values among minors.” The legislation has been criticized internationally, its detractors both at home and abroad calling it an attack on LGBT rights.

Four years later, in 2017, three Russian activists brought a case to the European human rights court against Moscow, alleging that the legislation infringed on their freedom of expression. Six of the seven judges agreed with the complainant, with just Russian judge Dmitry Dedov dissenting. Moscow has not acted on the judgment.

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According to Soltanovsky, this latest report by the ECRI is not the first time it has gone beyond its area of competence.

“In fact, the ECRI tries to deprive the states of their sovereign rights in the field of migration policy, which contributes to the growth of uncontrolled illegal migration and complicates the fight against human trafficking,” he claimed, noting that Russia would be happy to continue cooperating with the commission if he refrains from crossing “red lines” and instead focuses on the likes of discrimination against national minorities, Nazism and Christianophobia.

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