US State Dept.'s Human Rights Report About Discrimination of LGBT People in Belarus

Submitted by Viachaslau Bortnik

2010 Human Rights Report: Belarus

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

April 8, 2011

Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Homosexuality is not illegal, but discrimination against members of the LGBT community was widespread, and harassment occurred.

In early May authorities denied the LGBT community permission to hold a pride parade in downtown Minsk on May 15, the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Authorities claimed that the parade would disrupt traffic. According parliament member Nina Mazay, the most effective way to ensure the safety of participants in this instance given "negative sentiments toward gays and lesbians" was to ban the assembly. The activists defied the ban, and riot police violently dispersed approximately 30 demonstrators on May 15. Seven activists, including Alyaksandr Fyodarau, Syarhey Yenin, Aleh Hruvich, and two Russian citizens, were detained, placed in pretrial detention, and each sentenced to 17,500 ruble ($6) fines on May 17.

On June 21, LGBT activists Syarhey Androsenka and Syarhey Pradzed filed individual communications to the UN Human Rights Committee complaining about earlier fines. In December 2009 a court in Minsk fined LGBT community activist Alyaksandr Haharyn 105,000 rubles ($35), Androsenka 875,000 rubles ($290), and Pradzed 350,000 rubles ($115) for participating in an unsanctioned protest in front of the Iranian embassy. The activists demonstrated to protest the use of capital punishment of LGBT persons in Iran. The Minsk City Court and the Supreme Court subsequently upheld these fines.

On October 11, police in Minsk arrested Pradzed for staging a one-man protest to mark International Coming-Out Day. He was held in custody overnight and fined 700,000 rubles ($235) the next day.

In September 2009 the KGB in Homyel informed local gay rights activist Svyataslau Semyantsou that it had opened a criminal case against him for participating in activities of an unregistered group. The KGB also threatened Semyantsou with charges of providing defamatory and discrediting information to a foreign source. No further information on the status of this case was available during the year.

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