The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and ILGA-Europe produced a joint briefing about legislative proposals and laws banning “homosexual propaganda”
This joint briefing paper by ICJ and ILGA-Europe aims to provide an overview of the laws. It analyses the potential impact, places these laws in a human rights framework, and finally provides recommendations to national policy-makers and activists and international organisations on how to deal with these developments.
The ICJ and ILGA-Europe are extremely alarmed by the recent trend in laws prohibiting “homosexual propaganda.” Laws banning "homosexual propaganda" have been adopted in five regions in the Russian Federation, including St. Petersburg, and are currently being considered at the national level. In addition, similar proposals have been introduced in Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, and Hungary. The laws impose penalties that range from fines to prison terms. Legislators have attempted to justify such laws with reference to protecting the morals of minors.
These laws violate human rights. First, they discriminate against LGBT individuals and organisations. Second, they undermine everyone's right to freedom of expression, which includes the right to seek, receive and impart information, opinions and ideas. The “homosexual propaganda” bans are not limited to LGBT pride parades and demonstrations. They will impact a wide range of daily activities, including public health messages, cultural events such as film festivals and book fairs, media reporting on national and international issues, education on sexual and reproductive health, and even commercial advertising. They are official statements of discrimination and legitimise homophobia and transphobia at every level.
The ICJ and ILGA-Europe call on parliamentarians and leaders at the national level to condemn such laws and, where they have been enacted, work for their repeal. Council of Europe and European Union institutions should raise the laws and proposals in discussions with member states. The human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, including the treaty bodies and special procedure mandate holders, should address these laws in their evaluation of state obligations and should send appeals to governments.