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Russia’s Supreme Court Bans ‘International LGBTQ Movement’ As ‘Extremist’


Russia’s Supreme Court Bans ‘International LGBTQ Movement’ As ‘Extremist’

Russia’s Supreme Court has declared what it calls “the international LGBT public movement” an extremist organization and banned all activities associated with it in the country.

The landmark ruling on Thursday was prompted by a motion from the Ministry of Justice, even though no such organization exists as a legal entity. The justice ministry claimed the LGBTQ community risked “inciting social and religious discord”, in violation of Russia’s Law on Countering Extremism, according to a statement from the UN condemning the decision.

Thursday’s ruling states: “The claims are to be satisfied: to recognize the international LGBT movement as an extremist organization and to prohibit its activities in Russia,” according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

The four-hour hearing was held behind closed doors with only the Justice Ministry present for the proceedings and materials classified.

The decision is expected to further erode the rights of Russia’s LGBTQ community, who have faced an intensifying crackdown in recent years under President Vladimir Putin. Putin is seeking to shore up his image as defender of traditional moral values against the liberal West.

In the statement Thursday, the UN said it “deplores” the ruling and warned that it could leave “members, employees and people engaging with such organizations” at risk of criminal charges and imprisonment.

Under Russian law, an organization designated as extremist faces immediate dissolution, and its leaders face charges of up to 10 years in prison, according to the UN Human Rights Chief.

“This decision exposes human rights defenders and anyone standing up for the human rights of LGBT people to being labelled as ’extremist’ – a term that has serious social and criminal ramifications in Russia,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said.

In July this year, Russia passed a law banning doctors from conducting gender reassignment surgeries, except in cases related to treating congenital physiological anomalies, in children.

In December 2022, Putin signed into law a bill that expanded a ban on so-called LGBTQ “propaganda” in Russia, making it illegal for anyone to promote same-sex relationships or suggest that non-heterosexual orientations are “normal.”

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