Scroll Top

Russia: Lawsuit against the international LGBTI movement


Paris-Geneva, November 29, 2023 – In a grotesque yet dangerous move which shows the growing influence of anti-rights and anti-gender movement in Russia, the Russian authorities have initiated a lawsuit aimed at banning the broadly defined “international public LGBT movement”. Amid a years-long crackdown, LGBTIQ+ rights defenders, human rights organisations and groups face new threats to their integrity, security and well-being, denounced the Observatory (OMCT-FIDH).

On November 17, 2023, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation published on its website information about the administrative lawsuit submitted to the Supreme Court of Russia to recognise the “International public LGBT movement” as extremist and to ban its activity in Russia. The Ministry did not specify whether it was seeking the closure of any specific groups or organisations, or if the designation would apply more broadly to the LGBTIQ+ community, causes and individuals.

The lawsuit of the Ministry of Justice will be considered in a closed hearing on November 30, 2023.

The Observatory believes that recognition of the “International public LGBT movement” as extremist will further put at risk the security and psychological well-being of Russian LGBTIQ+ organisations and LGBTIQ+ rights defenders. According to Article 292.2 of the Criminal Code (“organisation of the extremist activity”), members of organisations qualified as extremists can be sentenced to between two and six years’ imprisonment and their “organisers” can face up to 10 years in jail. Furthermore the Observatory is concerned that the broad terms used by the Ministry of Justice may open the door to targeting the totality of the LGBTIQ+ community in Russia.

Should the court declare the “international public LGBT movement” as extremist, the ruling will further extend the existing legal framework used to repress LGBTIQ+ organisations and defenders in Russia. In 2013, the Russian authorities adopted the Federal Law “For the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating a Denial of Traditional Family Values” known as “Gay Propaganda Law”, banning any noncritical public depiction of “nontraditional sexual relations” among minors. This legislation contributed to restricting freedom of expression regarding sexual orientation and gender identity and to promote homophobia. It has been further used to ban public events, to close LGBTIQ+ organisations and to persecute human rights defenders.

In 2017, the European Court for Human Rights issued a ruling stating that “Gay Propaganda Law” encourages homophobia and discrimination and violates the European Convention on Human Rights. Despite this, in 2022, the scope of “Gay Propaganda Law” was significantly broadened, prohibiting sharing positive or even neutral information about LGBTIQ+ people and publicly displaying non-heterosexual relations.

The Observatory urges the Russian authorities to withdraw the lawsuit, and to put an immediate end to the attacks, including judicial harassment, against LGBTIQ+ rights defenders, human rights groups and the broader community. The Observatory calls on the authorities of Russia to reverse the State’s homophobic legislation and policies and to guarantee the physical integrity and psychological well-being of LGBTIQ+ defenders, human rights organisations and individuals.