- October 15, 2014
The Human Rights Campaign condemns the initial vote by the Kyrgyzstan National Assembly to pass new harsh anti-LGBT legislation during its first reading. According to Radio Free Europe, 79 members of the Kyrgyz parliament voted in favor of the legislation, while seven voted against it. Two more parliamentary votes are required before the legislation is submitted to Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev who has to sign it before it goes into effect. HRC stands in solidarity with the Kyrgyz activists and allies fighting against this new offensive discrimination.
This legislation, which was proposed in March, emulates Russia’s anti-LGBT “propaganda” law. However, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), this law mandates even harsher punishments, including jail time, for expressing sentiments that could “create a positive attitude to unconventional sexual orientation.” HRW has already documented the increasing brutality against the LGBT community in Kyrgyzstan, and this law would only further isolate the community. This law is part of a growing trend towards anti-LGBT legislation in Eastern Europe and central Asia.
“Plain and simple, a law that aims to prohibit LGBT advocacy and prevent positive depictions of LGBT people is dangerous,” said HRC Global Director Ty Cobb. “It’s terrifying to see Kyrgyzstan following in the footsteps of Russia. The United States and international organizations must not look the other way while LGBT people in Eurasia are dangerously being marginalized with new laws that replicate the ill-advised policies of President Putin.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the internationally condemned and draconian anti-LGBT propaganda law on June 29, 2013, and it entered into force the following day. This law––and the homophobic and transphobic cultural debate that swirled around it––has fueled an appalling backlash against members of Russia’s LGBT community. HRC Foundation’s full Russia: Year in Review report, which documents this backlash, is available here.
“The evidence is clear: state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia in Russia has posed a direct threat to the safety and welfare of LGBT Russians, and countries passing copycat legislation are similarly endangering their LGBT citizens,” said Cobb. “This further highlights the need for a coordinated U.S. response to these kinds of laws. While the U.S. responded strongly to the law passed in Uganda earlier this year, we need to see similar actions when other countries enact laws that violate the human rights of LGBT people.”