Protests planned to highlight human rights violations in Russia

Organisers say new ‘anti-gay’ laws are provoking violence against lesbian, gay and transgendered people

Russian president  Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Reuters

Russian president Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Reuters

Mon, Sep 2, 2013, 15:44

An international campaign to “Keep Hope Alive” is calling on world leaders to challenge the Russian government about the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia at this week’s G20 conference in St Petersburg.

The organisers are planning a rally outside the Dáil tomorrow evening to highlight new “anti-gay” laws in Russia, which they say are provoking violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.

Tomorrow’s rally will be followed by a protest at the Russian Embassy on Sunday afternoon in which members of the Irish LGBT community and others plan to express concerns about the abuse of gay people in Russia.

Organisers of both protests point to a crackdown on the activities of human rights and civil society advocates since Vladimir Putin was re-elected president.

“The upcoming G20 summit presents a critical opportunity for world leaders to make clear to Russia that these attacks on human rights are unacceptable, will not go unchallenged and will not be without consequences.” said Kieran Rose, chairman of gay and lesbian equality network Glen.

“Ireland, while not a member of the G20, has a very significant role to play in ensuring that the EU seriously addresses these violations of the most basic international human rights obligations and democratic principles. We call on the Irish government to prioritise addressing these developments through the EU, the council of Europe, the United Nations Human Rights Council, where Ireland is currently a member, and any other international body where human rights are relevant” said Mr Rose.

“These new laws represent a serious attack on human rights and civil society in Europe. They send out the clear message from the Russian government and parliament that intolerance of others is acceptable and that human rights are not inviolable but rather are political notions which can be rowed back when it is politically advantageous to do so. This cannot be allowed to stand” he concluded.