Human Rights Watch criticized amendments to the Constitution of Russia.

Constitution of the Russian Federation. Archive photo.

Tatyana Lokshina, deputy head of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) international human rights organization’s organization in Europe and Central Asia, criticized the proposed amendments to the Russian Constitution regarding the notion of marriage – in her opinion, it “discriminates” representatives of non-traditional sexual orientation in the country.

Earlier, State Duma Vice-Speaker Petr Tolstoy stated the need for the constitution to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman, which should stop speculation on the issue of granting certain rights to people of non-traditional sexual orientation. According to him, this step ensures that “no international institutions can continue to impose any special rights on the LGBT community in Russia.”

“Homophobia in Russia is strong enough and is even more intensified after the adoption of discriminatory legislation and relevant rhetoric in the media,” she said.

At the same time, in her opinion, Tolstoy’s rhetoric was also directed at the West.

“Perhaps, speaking to a Russian audience, Mr. Tolstoy simultaneously sends a certain signal to Western partners that not only is Russia not going to repeal discriminatory legislation, but on the contrary, he and a number of his colleagues consider it right to enforce discriminatory norms in the constitution,” the representative added HRW.

She explained that she had in mind the so-called law on the prohibition of gay propaganda.

The co-chair of the working group, Pavel Krasheninnikov, stated that the constitutional definition of marriage proposed by Tolstoy was not entirely correct, since there are single-parent families, and the concept of marriage is enshrined in the Family Code.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a meeting with members of a working group to prepare proposals for amending the Constitution of the Russian Federation, said that while he was president, Russia would not have a parent number one and number two – “there will be a father and mother.” At the same time, the head of state did not specify whether this norm should be prescribed in the main law of the country.

Copyright www.ria.ru

Berlinale 2020: Welcome to Chechnya.

In 2017, the LGBTQI* community, human rights defenders and allies all over the world were shocked by the devastating news of crimes being committed in the Russian republic of Chechnya. In a coordinated action, the authorities were rounding up gay and bisexual men and women, and taking them to illegal prison facilities where they were tortured and forced to out others, with the result that they were either executed or released to their families where they were often subjected to “honour killings”. In an interview, Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied all accusations, claiming that there are no queer people in Chechnya.

David France’s film is the first documentary about those who have come together to save lives – both their own and those of others. This film is a raw, emotionally arresting account of the enormous risks and setbacks but also the victories won against an ultra-conservative society and government. Following rescue operations undertaken by several courageous activists, the film is meticulous in unveiling reality in today’s Chechnya as it unfolds, and excels at making palpable the fear and the hope in the fight for survival.

To buy a tickets www.berlinale.de

Copyright www.berlinale.de

Gay.ru complains about blocking to the European Court of Human Rights.

The administration of the site gay.ru appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) with a complaint about the blocking in Russia. This was reported to Meduza in the human rights group Agora.

The resource, which has been operating since 1997, was added to the register of banned sites in May 2018 by a decision of the Altai District Court of Khakassia. The court found that gay.ru contained “information promoting non-traditional sexual relations,” including among minors.

The Supreme Court of Khakassia upheld the decision of the district court.

As stated in the complaint to the ECHR (available to Medusa), gay.ru has a note of 18+, as required by Russian law.

Moreover, as the applicant points out, there is no “effective way to distinguish the audience of an Internet resource by age without a complete identification of the user’s identity, which would be an excessive interference with the right to respect for private and family life.”

Thus, the site administration believes that the norm on the basis of which gay.ru was blocked in Russia is “excessively uncertain and unpredictable” in its application.

“This legislation is, in fact, discriminatory <…> legal norms go beyond what is necessary to protect minors from indecent behavior,” the complaint addressed to the ECHR said.

Copyright www.meduza.io

Moscow jury acquits suspect of murdering gay man coming home from nightclub.

A jury in Moscow has acquitted a suspect charged with murdering a gay man at the Kursky train station. According to the website Mediazona, prosecutors say Anton Berezhnoi used a knife to attack two men returning home from a gay nightclub. One of the victims received light injuries while the other died at the scene.

During the trial, Berezhnoi partly confessed to the crime but said he didn’t plan to kill anyone, claiming that the victim impaled himself on the knife. The jury acquitted him of murder charges but convicted him of felony battery.

Members of the city’s LGBTQ community have said they believe the attack was directly related to the victims’ sexual orientation. “There were shouts of ‘Faggot bastards!’ and there was aggression. It’s highly likely that it was tied to [our] orientation. We were dressed casually. It’s possible that he was following us. We were walking from a nightclub,” the surviving victim told the television station Dozhd.

Copyright www.meduza.io

In Grozny attacked the columnist for the Novaya Gazeta Elena Milashina.

In Grozny, an attack on the columnist for the Novaya Gazeta Elena Milashin and lawyer Marina Dubrovin, the newspaper reported.

The incident occurred at the entrance to the Continent Hotel on the evening of February 6. The attackers were both men and women. Novaya Gazeta reports that Dubrovina was beaten, and it was mainly women who beat her. The attackers filmed their actions on camera.

According to the publication, Milashina and Dubrovina arrived in Grozny for trial in the case of Islam Nukhanov.

(The Case of Islam Nukhanov
Islam Nukhanov in October 2019 posted a video on YouTube in which he talked about an elite village in the center of Grozny, where relatives and close heads of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov live. After that, a criminal case was opened against him under articles on the possession of weapons and the use of violence against a representative of authority. Nukhanov’s relatives claimed that he was tortured after being detained.)

Copyright www.meduza.io