US State Dept. on LGBT human rights violations in Belarus

Submitted by Viachaslau Bortnik

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012

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

Authorities routinely denied LGBT groups permission to hold public events, including a pride parade. On April 6, Minsk city authorities rejected a request from the human rights GayBelarus initiative to hold a seven-person picket to raise awareness about the LGBT rights at a remote district in Minsk on April 9. In early May authorities denied the LGBT community three applications to hold demonstrations to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia in Minsk.

In December 2011, authorities denied a registration application by a gay rights group, Alternative Plus Human Rights Center, citing minor errors in information on its founders, such as a misspelled name and an incorrect birth date. Societal discrimination against LGBT activists persisted.

In March Lukashenka criticized EU politicians and, in an apparent reference to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, stated that “it was better to be a dictator than gay.” In October 2011 Lukashenka noted that he regretted having told the German Foreign Minister that “he had to lead a normal life,” presumably at a closed meeting in 2010, but criticized homosexual conduct. Earlier, he had stated that he did not understand how two men could live together and would exile gay men to collective farms “with great pleasure.”

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