Head of the State Duma Committee on Family Issues Tamara Pletnev: “Gays should be treated”

The head of the State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children Tamara Pletneva believes that homosexuals “should be treated.” She stated this on the author’s program by Vladimir Pozner on the First Channel, answering the moderator’s question about how she relates to the idea of criminal prosecution for homosexuality.

“Tchaikovsky was also [gay], but he was hiding it, hesitated. What to punish? It is necessary to treat, ”said Pletneva.

Also, according to Pletnevna, HIV is transmitted exclusively through sexual intercourse, since “we have such morality that it is possible anywhere and with whom it happens and no one bears responsibility”. Vladimir Pozner remarked that it is unnatural for a person to have only one sexual partner in a lifetime. “I do not blame anyone,” – said the deputy.

The program also raised the issue of sexual harassment. “If we talk about harassment by men, then it’s not only men who are to blame,” Pletneva said. “Nobody has harassed me here. Both those, and those [both men and women] should be brought up in this plan. Well, let’s say a woman gets a good job, and she is offered to sleep. I don’t know, well, such a woman … I wouldn’t agree, ”Pletneva shared.

When discussing the prohibition of abortion, the MP admitted that she had an abortion. “I am ashamed, I did. We lived in poverty, I understood that I would need to raise children, to teach. I gave birth to two daughters and all. But I did. I now read this prayer sometimes, on a piece of paper, please forgive me. Indeed, this is killing a person, ”she said.

At the same time, Pletnev does not believe that abortion should be prohibited: “This is a woman who must decide. If she lived very well, maybe she would have given birth to ten. ”

Pletneva also commented on her scandalous phrase, which she uttered during the 2018 World Cup, when she called on Russian women not to have sex with foreigners. “I’m generally ashamed to talk about this topic. I remember the Olympics 80. Some children were taken away, then they were looking for, then they themselves suffered, how to get home, colored children were born. They called me almost a racist for that. I am not a racist, really, ”says Pletneva.

The deputy spoke out against baby boxes. At the same time, it became clear from her words that she does not understand very well what it is. “This is not our morality, so that she [mother] would carry it there and put it. It is not clear how much they put there, where these children are going, ”she said.

We touched on the topic of adoption of children by foreigners. “They live in another country, maybe they live better there, but they will never be Russian again,” said the deputy.

At the same time, Pletnev believes that sex education lessons in schools are not needed.

Copyright www.znak.com

Two rapporteurs condemn the latest alleged murder, torture and illegal detention of LGBTI persons in Chechnya

Frank Schwabe (SOC, Germany), rapporteur on the continuing need to restore human rights and the rule of law in the North Caucasus region, and Piet De Bruyn (NR, Belgium), General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBTI people and former rapporteur on persecution of LGBTI people in the Chechen Republic (Russian Federation), today condemned the recent alleged attacks on the LGBTI community in Chechnya, during which two people were reportedly tortured to death and around forty detained by the authorities.

“Since the first such allegations came to light in 2017, the Assembly has called on the authorities to investigate the persecution of LGBTI people in the Chechen Republic, bring to justice those responsible and ensure the safety of victims,” said Mr De Bruyn. “As stated in Resolution 2230 (2018), the Assembly condemns in the strongest terms all forms of persecution, hate speech, discrimination and harassment, on any grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity,” he underlined.

“These latest outrages underline the Chechen authorities’ contempt for even the most basic human rights and illustrate the barbaric lawlessness of their rule,” added Mr Schwabe. “The Russian federal authorities must take immediate, effective action to meet their constitutional and international obligations to secure the right to life, the prohibition on torture, the right to liberty and security and the right to an effective remedy, without discrimination on any ground, throughout the national territory. They must put an end to the impunity of the Kadyrov regime,” he concluded.

Copyright www.assembly.coe.int

New details emerge about what one source calls an anti-LGBTQ ‘genocide’ LGBTQ community reports dozens imprisoned and up to 20 killed in Chechnya within past month

On Friday, January 11, Novaya Gazeta reported that persecution of individuals thought to be LGBTQ has drastically increased since late December in the Russian republic of Chechnya. Since then, Meduza has received additional information from the Russian LGBT Network, online groups for LGBTQ residents of the Caucasus, and a young man who has demonstrated close ties with the LGBTQ community in the North Caucasus. This report describes what makes this moment different from the attacks on LGBTQ people that have been ongoing for years both in Chechnya and in Russia more broadly.

Meduza has received information from the Russian LGBT Network as well as named and anonymous sources within the Russian LGBTQ community describing escalating efforts among Chechen police to hunt down, illegally arrest, and torture Chechens who are suspected of having LGBTQ identities. While advocates have reported similar systems of persecution for two years, a sharp increase in illegal arrests allegedly began less than one month ago, in late December 2018.

Aleksandr Mironov is a young man who says he fled North Ossetia, another region in the North Caucasus, after experiencing persecution because he is gay. He asked that his surname be changed to protect the safety of his relatives but said he provided his real first name, adding, “everything I had to lose, I have already lost.” Mironov currently lives in France but has maintained contact with a number of Chechen friends. He described living in Moscow for a period of time with a group of gay men who had also escaped Chechnya. He told Meduza that all of the information he provided came directly from people who had witnessed the current crisis in Chechnya firsthand. Mironov has provided Meduza with images that verify his location and some of his identifying information. Efforts to verify his story while protecting his safety are ongoing, and Mironov has been put in contact with representatives of the Russian LGBT Network.

Mironov’s sources told him that within the past month, Chechen police have illegally arrested approximately 40 people, including both men and women, based on suspicions about their sexual orientation. The LGBT Network, which for almost two years has led the evacuation effort to move targeted individuals living in Russia’s North Caucasus to safety, confirmed this number in a January 14 press release. However, while the LGBT Network received word of at least two people who died in the course of being tortured, Mironov said he puts the number of those killed at 10 to 20, saying that one of his friends personally saw more than two bodies being carried away from the location where he was held. A source within the LGBT Network wrote to Meduza, “I would not be surprised if Aleksandr is correct.” Mironov told Meduza that the present crisis is “a genocide” and that he chose to speak out because his friends and his community are finding themselves in an increasingly drastic situation. News about the crisis began to break on Friday, and the young man said he fears the first response among Chechen authorities will be to increase the rate of arrests and killings.

The Russian LGBT Network reported that the latest wave of illegal arrests appears to have begun when the administrator of an LGBTQ group on the social media site VKontakte was captured in December. Igor Kochetkov, the LGBT Network’s program director, wrote in a press release that “it is the staff of [Chechen] security agencies that is carrying out these arrests, and the victims are being held illegally in [the town of] Argun. The local police are doing everything possible to prevent them from leaving the republic or receiving legal protection as a result. Police are confiscating their identifying documents, threatening to charge them and their relatives with fabricated crimes, and forcing them to sign forms that are otherwise entirely blank.”

Mironov confirmed that victims are being tortured in Argun. It has been reported for more than a year that a former police building there was refitted to house secret torture chambers for men and women suspected of being LGBTQ. Mironov and other sources also said that finding concrete evidence on individual cases is extremely difficult because police confiscate cell phones and any other means of communication a victim may have. Victims can typically resume contact with the outside world only if they are released from custody.

When asked to describe what makes the present wave of attacks different from ongoing persecution, Mironov said the recent escalation has made him call the events in Chechnya a “genocide.” He explained, “This is a genocide based on religion. In fact, religion is only a smokescreen here. They are hiding behind Islam and Sharia law to stir up chaos illegally.” He added that “according to Sharia law, a person who has blood on his hands” should be the first person to be blamed. Mironov believes that “if this is left the way it is, then there will be even more victims.”

As Meduza reported on Friday, news of increasing persecution has emerged amid a call from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to investigate the wave of torture and killings that hit Chechnya in 2017. Like this purge, the previous spike in persecution was first reported by Novaya Gazeta. The author of the OSCE’s report, Dr. Wolfgang Benedek, recommended that the OSCE “open an inquiry into the actions of the government of the Chechen Republic toward LGBTI people” as well as a criminal case connected to the persecution of Maksim Lapunov, who had then been the only victim of the purges to publicly identify himself. The LGBT Network reported in their press release that Benedek was refused entry to the Russian Federation and that Russian authorities have still failed to conduct any meaningful investigation of the “systemic persecution” that began nearly two years ago.

Anonymous members of social media groups dedicated to the LGBTQ community in the Caucasus have confirmed and spread information about the recent increase in police attacks. Many of them are urging LGBTQ people in affected areas to delete any information from their devices that might reveal their sexual orientation, change their phone numbers, and destroy their devices if possible. The posts in question all urge potential victims to leave Chechnya and the North Caucasus as soon as possible. For its part, the Russian LGBT Network has vowed to continue relocating people who now find themselves in ever increasing danger. Since anti-LGBTQ persecution in Chechnya took on a new, systemic nature in 2017, the organization has relocated approximately 150 people, more than 130 of whom were able to leave Russia altogether.

Copyright www.meduza.io

Chechnya has reportedly launched a new ‘gay purge’

Chechnya has reportedly launched another ‘gay purge’, nearly two years after Russian newspaper Novaya Gazetta broke the story that up to 26 men had been killed in the country.
Yesterday, a warning aimed at the queer community appeared on social media, urging them all to flee the southern Russian region.

“We ask anyone still free to take this message seriously and leave the republic as soon as is possible,” read the statement.

Although the message was vague, activists have come to the conclusion that LGBTQ people in Chechnya are once again being hunted by the authorities.

Igor Kochetkov, head of the LGBT Network, told The Independent that the group has “credible information of a new crackdown”, and will be providing a statement on the matter this Monday.

Last year, chilling reports of young gay men being murdered by their own family members came to fruition, as authorities told parents to kill them – or they’ll do it themselves.

A 17-year-old male was reportedly murdered by his own uncle, after being pushed from his 9th floor balcony.

The Kremlin and Chechen government have both repeatedly denied allegations that gay men are being detained and tortured in the region, but Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov has never kept it a secret that he is staunchly anti-LGBTQ.

Kadyrov publicly declared that he wanted all LGBT+ people in the country to be eliminated by May 26 2018, which marked the start of Muslim holiday, Ramadan.

He has maintained that all of the reports were false because in Chechnya, “we don’t have these kinds of people here.”

A 30-year-old man named Ruslan came forward to speak of his experience during the anti-gay purge, and revealed that he was outed to his family when his daughter-in-law discovered text messages he had sent his boyfriend on his phone.

His own family swiftly took away his passport and phone, and locked him in his room for a month.

“In Chechnya there was a big cleansing of gays. People working for Kadyrov (Chechnya’s leader) would target one (gay) person and through blackmail and beating would force him to surrender others,” Ruslan told BBC Russian.

“Some were caught, taken to the cellars, beaten violently, others were not found. Relatives sometimes did not even look for them, as they wanted to wash away the shame.”

Ruslan finally managed to escape his family home, borrowed a phone from a passerby to call his boyfriend, and made it to Moscow.

These accounts of the persecution LGBTQ people face in Chechnya comes as the Human Rights Campaign give repeated calls for Donald Trump to publicly condemned the Russian Republic’s actions.

They want the US president to “end his deafening silence” on ongoing crimes against people suspected of being LGBTQ in the country.

“These atrocities constitute crimes against humanity…None of the perpetrators have been brought to justice,” they put in a letter to the White House.

“Russia has refused to launch an investigation, and those who carried out these abuses face no repercussions for their actions.

“You must condemn these crimes against humanity and call on Russia to conduct an investigation and hold the perpetrators accountable.”

Copyright www.gaytimes.co.uk

No Support. Russia’s “Gay Propaganda” Law Imperils LGBT Youth

Russian blogger, Zhenya Svetski, stands with a sign reading “I am not ‘gay propaganda’” in Moscow, December 2018. © 2018 Dmitry Belyakov for Human Rights Watch

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in Russia face formidable barriers to enjoying their fundamental rights to dignity, health, education, information, and association. In Russia, antipathy towards homosexuality and gender variance is not new—LGBT people there have long faced threats, bullying, abuse inside their families, and discrimination—but the 2013 “gay propaganda” law has increased that social hostility. The law has also had a stifling effect on access to affirming education and support services, with harmful consequences for LGBT youth.

Russia’s “gay propaganda” law is a classic example of political homophobia. It targets vulnerable sexual and gender minorities for political gain. When Russian president Vladimir Putin signed the federal law in June 2013, he pandered to a conservative domestic support base. And on the international stage, the law helped position Russia as a champion of so-called “traditional values.” The legislation, formally titled the law “aimed at protecting children from information promoting the denial of traditional family values,” bans the “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors”—a reference universally understood to mean a ban on providing children access to information about LGBT people’s lives. The ban includes, but is not limited to, information provided via the press, television, radio, and the internet.

The law has been used to shut down websites that provide valuable information and services to teens across Russia and to bar LGBT support groups from working with youth. But the law’s effects have been much broader: individual mental health professionals have curtailed what they say and what support they give to students, and the law gives the strong imprimatur of the Russian state to the false and discriminatory view that LGBT people are a threat to tradition and the family. Significantly, mental health providers we spoke with said the law interferes with their ability to offer honest, scientifically accurate, and open counseling services, leading some to self-censor themselves or set out explicit disclaimers at the start of sessions to avoid running afoul of the law.

Given the already deeply hostile climate for LGBT people in Russia when the law was passed, it is not surprising that its passage coincided with an uptick in often-gruesome vigilante violence against LGBT people in Russia—frequently carried out in the name of protecting Russian values and Russia’s children. And while Russian government officials and parliament members claim that the goal of the “gay propaganda” law is to protect children from potentially harmful subject matter, the law in fact directly harms children by denying them access to essential information and increasing stigma against LGBT youth and their families. As the European Court of Human Rights concluded in 2017, the law reflects and reinforces “predisposed bias, unambiguously highlighted by its domestic interpretation and enforcement.”

This report—based largely on interviews with LGBT youth and mental health professionals in diverse locations in Russia, including urban and rural areas—documents the situation of LGBT youth there today. It looks at their everyday experiences in schools, homes, and in public, and their ability to access reliable and accurate information about themselves as well as counseling and other support services. As one mental health provider explained, “The whole situation is just worsening. As of today, teachers and teachers-psychologists are not allowed to speak positively [on LGBT topics]. They can’t just say to a kid, ‘Hey, everything is normal with you.’”

LGBT youth interviewed by Human Rights Watch described feelings of intense fear of disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity in their daily lives, as well as distrust in the individuals and systems that should provide them safety and refuge. This fear extends beyond the school walls: some of the students Human Rights Watch interviewed said that others in their communities also threated and physically abused them.

While some LGBT youth told us that teachers had supported and protected them, many others said their teachers characterize LGBT people as a symptom of perversion imported from Western Europe or North America, mirroring the political homophobia that motivated the passage of the “gay propaganda” law in the first place.

For some, peers are a source of relative support and openness—when compared with how their parents and teachers relate to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Others, however, face harassment, bullying, and discrimination at the hands of their classmates, who often repeat the stereotypes, misinformation, and noxious anti-LGBT rhetoric pervasive in Russian media. Some students heard comments from classmates suggesting that LGBT people do not deserve to live.

Nearly all of the youth we spoke with described intense feelings of isolation, which they attributed to persistent anti-LGBT rhetoric and hostile social attitudes. Their sense of isolation was exacerbated, they said, by the “gay propaganda” law. Repeatedly, they explained that their primary struggle is not coming to terms with being different as such, but rather finding accurate information about gender and sexuality in a hostile environment.

In the absence of accurate information and safe access to community spaces, or support from teachers and school mental health staff, many LGBT youth turn to the internet—an embattled, politicized, and often-censored space in Russia. However, the “gay propaganda” law has also restricted access to information about gender and sexuality online.

Mental health professionals we spoke with strongly echoed what LGBT youth said. They spoke of growing fear and anxiety among such youth since the law passed and an increase in demands for counselors attuned to LGBT issues, but also pervasive ignorance among psychologists and new self-censorship even among those who understand the issues and want to play a positive role in the lives of LGBT youth. One psychologist described how even in situations where it is clinically relevant to discuss a child client’s sexual orientation, he feels constrained by the law: “Teenagers often wait for me to ask a direct and precise question about his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, but the law prevents me from doing that.” A social worker pointed out that the law “is an effective means of intimidation.”

Psychologists told Human Rights Watch that the “gay propaganda” law has limited their ability to be fully candid on questions of sexual orientation and gender identity. Some explained that they felt forced to speak about sexual orientation and gender identity only in euphemisms, or to say explicitly at the outset of counseling sessions that they cannot and will not disseminate “gay propaganda” in attempts to dispel in advance any notion that they are violating the law.

By sending an official message approving the marginalization of LGBT people, psychologists told us, the “gay propaganda” law increases the challenges youth face. And by erecting legal barriers between marginalized youth and the support services and information they need, the law does significant harm.

Deti-404

Deti-404 is an online group that offers psychological support, advice, and a safe online community for LGBT children, including those who experience violence and aggression because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. “Deti” (дети) means “children.” The “404” in the group’s title is a reference to the standard internet “error 404” message indicating that a webpage cannot be found, so the group’s name can be read as referring to children who have been erased in official terms. Elena Klimova, a journalist and LGBT activist, launched Deti-404 while the “gay propaganda” law was pending in the parliament.

On June 10, 2013, Yelena Mizulina, the author of the law at the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia’s parliament, told reporters that the Deti-404 website did not constitute “gay propaganda” under the law. “Such a project is not concerned with the propaganda of non-traditional relationships,” she said. The reporter then asked her: “What is it like for these children when they discover that they are not like everyone else? How do they get information that it is not a disease, that it’s okay?” Mizulina replied:

Information that is explanatory, or descriptive, or which does not call for anything, which is not provocative, which doesn’t depict non-traditional sexual relations, is not propaganda, it can be legally accessed by teens.
The next day the State Duma voted unanimously to pass the law.

Deti-404 has gained tens of thousands of members since then and has become a crucial source of information and refuge for LGBT youth in Russia. But contrary to Mizulina’s assertions, Deti-404 has been a consistent target of the “gay propaganda” law in its five and a half years of existence.

Klimova has been charged under the “gay propaganda” law three times for operating Deti-404 and forced to change its digital location or re-launch the group to keep it functioning. Since a 2016 court decision, the group’s website, www.deti404.com, has been formally blocked in Russia.

By enshrining discrimination in national law, Russia’s “gay propaganda” law violates Russia’s international human rights obligations. International bodies—including the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child—have strongly condemned it for this reason.

Our interviews show that Russian youth are resilient amid the onslaught of anti-LGBT rhetoric, negative social attitudes, discriminatory laws, and persistent misinformation in their lives. The “gay propaganda” law, however, risks inflicting long-term harm on generations of Russian youth by encouraging discrimination and curtailing access to support services. The path forward requires repeal of the law and other reforms that uphold the basic rights of LGBT youth to freedom of expression and access to information. Mental health professionals, for their part, should not have to look over their shoulders when providing counseling and other services to LGBT youth: they should be free to provide counseling based on evidence and international best practices, not societal fears backed by repressive legislation.

Copyright www.hrw.org