ILGA-Europe’s statement on the Russian Supreme Court banning ‘the International LGBT movement” as extremist
Today, Russia’s Supreme Court banned what it called the “international LGBT public movement” as extremist. The LGBTI movement’s activities within Russia were said to “incite social and religious discord” in violation of the country’s anti-extremism laws.
This violently disproportionate decision, which has been classified as a state secret and is therefore not open to scrutiny, makes imprisonment a very real scenario for participating in activism, sharing information about LGBTI people’s human rights, or simply speaking up. It is an attempt to completely shut down any LGBTI organising and instil fear of prosecution and imprisonment among LGBTI people in general, as well as those who support them.
Adding ‘the international LGBT movement’ to a list of over 100 banned ‘extremist’ groups in Russia, it also extends beyond Russia’s borders, opening gates to prosecution of any entity or person at home or abroad involved in LGBTI activism as ‘extremist’.
ILGA-Europe condemns this abhorrent attack on LGBTI people and human rights groups in Russia. This ban is unprecedented in our region and outlaws organisations and individuals who have been withstanding harsh state-led attacks since 2013, both those targeting the rights of LGBTI people and those targeting independent civil society and media.
We stand in solidarity with LGBTI activists in Russia, who have remained resilient and determined in the face of repeated and escalating attacks on their work, lives and freedom. ILGA-Europe has been working to directly support and empower the LGBTI movement in Russia through providing resources, learning, networking and convening opportunities, as well as mobilisation of solidarity networks, for more than 15 years. We are committed to continue doing so while learning about what is needed as the situation evolves.
In our consultations and meetings, Russian activists are saying loud and clear that action is needed now more than words. While organisations will feel the need to comment on today’s decision, we ask those who hold resources to do more than simply condemn. We urge them to recommit to staunchly supporting LGBTI organising in Russia through funding, security assistance, logistical and diplomatic support to relocations of those at risk, and other forms. In doing so, it is paramount to centre the strategies, guidance, knowledge and experience of LGBTI activists and groups that operate in the country and directly engage LGBTI communities in their work.