HRC Blog

Dutch Diplomat Wounded in Anti-LGBT Attack in Russia

Post submitted by Tushar M, HRC Global Engagement Fellow

The Dutch foreign affairs ministry has confirmed that two men posing as electricians forced their way into a Dutch diplomat’s home in Moscow and attacked him.

The victim, Onno Elderenbosch, was slightly wounded and alerted the police himself. Russian media reports state the men drew a heart on a mirror with lipstick and the letters LGBT, Nos said.

Foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans called it a serious crime, and has summoned the Russian ambassador to the Netherlands for an explanation. “Our people have to be able to do their jobs in safety and I want assurances that the Russian authorities will be responsible on this point,” the minister said on Facebook.

With the recent passing of a law that bans “propagation of homosexual propaganda to minors” at a federal level, Russia is seeing an increase in violence towards LGBT people, particularly youth. More and more, extremely graphic videos emerge of LGBT youth being harassed and beaten up. Recent protests against the discriminatory law have ended in fierce clashes between the protestors and a much larger group of anti-LGBT. The Russian government has yet to investigate such attacks, and the police are generally silent bystanders.

Over 120,000 of HRC’s members have already spoken out against the ongoing violence against LGBT people in Russia, and the HRC has called on all the major sponsors of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 to stand their ground and show their commitment towards protecting and respecting the rights of LGBT people.

Activists on ground are being arrested under arbitrary interpretations of the “homosexual propaganda” law, and since the passing of the “Foreign Agents” law that prohibits access to international funding for NGOs, activists are unable to defend themselves against such state-sponsored homophobia and attacks. The International Olympics Committee states that it is satisfied with the Russian government’s assurances that human rights will be respected during the Winter Olympics, even though the lawmaker who passed the propaganda law explicitly stated that the law cannot be put in effect conditionally.

In the lead up to the Sochi Olympics, President Putin is planning on a law that allows wider surveillance on all communication, calling it a “security measure.” Members of the Council of Europe criticized this move as a method to “intimidate and gag people.”

To learn more about HRC’s work in Russia, visit www.hrc.org/russia

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