Russia’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a claim by the Ministry of Justice that the so-called “international LGBT movement” was committing acts of “an extremist nature” and “inciting social and religious discord”, in violation of the country’s law on countering extremism.
Any organisation designated as extremist faces immediate dissolution, and its leaders could receive up to 10 years in prison.
The decision exposes human rights defenders and anyone standing up for the rights of LGBT people to being labelled as ‘extremist’, which “serious social and criminal ramifications in Russia,” said Mr. Türk.
“No one should be jailed for doing human rights work or denied their human rights based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” he added.
He urged Moscow to immediately repeal laws that place improper restrictions on the work of human rights defenders or that discriminate against LGBT people.
Equality and non-discrimination
“The law must uphold and defend the principles of equality and non-discrimination. The law must never be used to perpetuate inequality and discrimination,” he said.
The UN rights chief also called for reforming laws that prohibit “gender-affirming medical and administrative procedures” and those that ban so-called “LGBT propaganda”, which made it illegal to discuss LGBT issues in Russia.
He also expressed ongoing concern over the wide use of the “extremist” label more generally to prosecute all those perceived as opponents, including politicians, journalists, and human rights defenders.