UN ALARMED AT THE RISING NUMBERS OF HOMOSEXUALS KILLED IN RUSSIA
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UN panel alarmed by Russian killings of gays and lesbians, others
By The Associated Press
10.30.2009 11:23am EDT
(Geneva) Russia fails to protect journalists, activists, prison inmates, gays and lesbians and others at odds with authorities from a wide range of abuses, including torture and murder, the U.N. Human Rights Committee said Friday.
The findings came in a report by an 18-member panel of independent experts who urged the Kremlin to implement a number of legal reforms. They include narrowing the broad definitions of terrorism and extremism under Russian law, decriminalizing defamation cases against journalists and granting appeal rights to people forced into psychiatric hospitals by the courts.
The expert panel said it also was concerned about violence against lesbian, gay and bisexual persons, including reports of police harassment. It said it received reports of people being assaulted or even killed because they were gay or lesbian. The panel said it was concerned at the “systematic discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation” in Russia.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in the 1990s, but many Russians are vehemently opposed to expansion of gay rights or gay-rights demonstrations. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov is an outspoken foe of gay rights and always has blocked attempts to hold gay pride marches in the capital, calling one a satanic gathering.
The U.N. panel – which this week assessed the compliance of Russia and four other countries with the U.N.’s 1966 international treaty on civil and political rights – receives its information from various U.N. agencies, non-governmental organizations and cases at the European Court of Human Rights.