EU needs to suspend visa negotiations with Russia
Today in Moscow during a joint media briefing with Cecilia Malmström, EU Home Affairs Commissioner, ILGA-Europe launched a new report addressing the human rights situation of LGBT people in Russia since the adoption of the Federal "homosexuality anti-propaganda law" last year.
The report paints a bleak picture and provides examples of how the LGBT community is driven to the margins of society.
Following the developments, ILGA-Europe called for the suspension of further negotiations about visa-free travel between the EU and Russia.
Björn van Roozendaal, ILGA-Europe’s Programmes Director, who was in Moscow at the occasion of Commissioner Malmström's visit, said:
"We fully support the idea of free travel for all citizens, but are extremely worried about the current human rights situation in Russia. Free travel needs to become of value to all citizens equally. In the current context it is likely that minority groups traveling to Russia will be discriminated and stigmatized, with virtually no protection from law enforcement personnel. There is no place for further negotiations until discriminatory laws are scrapped from the law books, civil society can operate freely and all citizens can travel without fear for human rights violations. We call on Russian citizens to keep their government accountable for ensuring that such most basic human rights principles are equally applied to all citizens."
Commissioner Malmström is responsible for the area of home affairs, including negotiations around visa liberalisation. During the press briefing she also expressed her concerns in relation to the current human rights situation in Russia.