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UN Committee against Torture: Russian authorities should publicly condemn violence against LGBT people

26 November 2012

On Friday 23 November, the UN Committee against Torture published its concluding observations on the consideration of the periodic report of the Russian Federation on the implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. A set of recommendations by the Committee concerned the need to combat hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Russia.

The Committee expressed its concern at reports of ongoing cases of discrimination and other violations - including violence - against people based on their identity or social marginalization. Committee specifically noted that the police does not respond properly, investigate effectively and prosecute those responsible for violent attacks against LGBT persons - including the recent attacks on clubs “7fridays” in Moscow and "Parisian Life" in Tyumen.

The Committee pointed out that the Russian authorities should take effective measures to protect all vulnerable social groups, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Any acts of violence and discrimination against persons belonging to such groups should promptly, independently and effectively be investigated, the perpetrators must be brought to justice and victims must receive compensation. The Committee recommended that the Russian Federation should collect statistics on all crimes against the vulnerable social groups, as well as data on investigations of criminal cases, criminal liability and compensation measures of such cases. Finally, the authorities of the Russian Federation were reminded of the need for public condemnation of attacks on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and organizing awareness campaigns aimed at promoting tolerance and respect for diversity, as well as training for law enforcement.

After four years Russia has once again to report to the Committee, and the authorities have to tell what they have done to overcome the violent crimes against LGBT people.

Earlier in November, a coalition of Russian LGBT organizations - Russian LGBT Network, Rainbow Foundation and the LGBT organization "Coming Out" - presented its alternative report to the UN Committee against Torture in Geneva. In the report were noted the problems of hate crimes against LGBT people, and forced medical procedures including claims for sterilization to change documents of transgender people as well as attempts to "cure" homosexuality.