Igor Kochetkov (Petrov), Russian LGBT Network
Xenia Kirichenko, master of laws, Russian LGBT Network
(c) Moscow Helsinki Group, 2010
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. LEGAL GUARANTEES OF PROTECTION AGAINST PROSECUTIONS AND DISCRIMINATION IN CONTEXT OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION
AND GENDER IDENTITY
2. DISCRIMINATION AND VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF HOMOSEXUALS AND TRANSGENDERS
3. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
RECOMMENDATION CM/REC(2010)5 OF THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS TO MEMBER STATES ON MEASURES TO COMBAT DISCRIMINATION ON GROUNDS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR GENDER IDENTITY
This report is the result of the specialized monitoring of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the Russian Federation carried out by the Moscow Helsinki Group in cooperation with the Russian LGBT Network in 2007–2008. This is the first specialized study of the legal situation of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBT community) in Russia.
A long time ago, the international community, which Russia is a part of, has recognized that all people born free and equal in their dignity and rights. At the same time, there are still social groups that are systematically excluded from the principles of respect of human dignity and universality of human rights by the society and state. LGBT community, which includes people with sexual orientation and/or gender identity different from that of the majority of population, is one of such groups.
Along with race, national and religious affiliation, gender and other characters, sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent elements of everyone’s dignity and personality and, thus, should not be a ground for discrimination or violation of rights. The society and the state must do their best to provide people with any sexual orientation and gender identity with equal opportunities and freedom. This is the only approach that corresponds to the modern understanding of the principle of universality, indivisibility, interdependence, and interconnection of human rights.
In modern Russia, as well as in other countries of the world, violations of human rights and discrimination based on different grounds are wide spread. Xenophobia, intolerance towards minorities is a common problem for the entire society, and homophobia is just one of its parts. However, homophobia-related crimes, violations of rights, and discrimination are not only wide spread, but also are kept secret by authorities, media, and public opinion leaders. LGBT community in our country is still “invisible” and “unnamed.”
This is the reason for carrying out this social study of the legal status of LGBT community in Russia. The existing problems should not be kept secret; on the contrary, they must become a subject of public discussions with the participation of authorities and public opinion.
It would be impossible to carry out the first such study in Russia without the joint efforts of two organizations—Moscow Helsinki Group and Russian LGBT Network.
Moscow Helsinki Group is the senior human rights organizations in Russia founded in 1976 in Moscow. Today, MHG is a multidisciplinary human rights organization and, first of all, a resource center for hundreds of non-governmental organizations, providing them with organizational, information, educational, and other support.
Monitoring of human rights observance is one of MHG fields of activity. The all-Russia monitoring of human rights was possible due to the model provided by MHG. The situation in the field of human rights is monitored by joint efforts of Moscow and regional human rights organizations. A permanent network of human rights organizations with the experience in human rights monitoring was created by 2001. Regional human rights organizations have adopted the practice of presenting reports on human rights in their regions. Starting with 1999, MHG issues the annual report “On Human Rights in the Russian Federation.” Starting with the same year, besides the monitoring covering the entire range of human rights, MHG started carrying out studies by separate groups of human rights.
In 2006, MHG established partnership relations with the Russian LGBT Network. As a result of this partnership, the 2007 “Human Rights in the Russian Federation” report included a special chapter “Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”1.
Russian LGBT Network was created in 2006. Within three years of its existence, it has transformed from an initiative group of several activists into an interregional public movement with 13 regional offices (Saint Petersburg, Tyumen, Pskov, Tomsk, Kemerovo, Omsk,
Arkhangelsk, Perm, Volgograd oblasts, Khabarovsk and Krasnoyarsk krais, the Republic of Karelia, and Tatarstan). A number of representatives of the Movement work in other regions as well.
The Russian LGBT Network aims at eliminating all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, disseminating the idea of tolerance in the Russian society, as well as encouraging gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders to take an active part in social life.
Monitoring of violations of human rights and discrimination against representatives of LGBT community is one of the organization’s fields of activity. In addition, the Russian LGBT Network provides legal and psychological assistance, educates and consults leaders of
regional LGBT organizations, carries out information and other activities aimed at creating a society without discrimination and segregation in Russia.
N. А. Tagankina, Executive Director of Moscow Helsinki Group
I. V. Kochetkov (Petrov), Chairman of the Interregional Public Movement “Russian LGBT Network”
(c) Moscow Helsinki Group, 2010
This publication has been made possible by the support of the Program of Small Grants of Embassy of the USA in the Russian Federation.
The Moscow Helsinki Group bears full responsibility for the given publication which cannot be regarded as the opinion of the Embassy of the USA or the American Government.