- October 8, 2013
Post submitted by Tushar M, HRC Global Engagement Fellow
The U.S. Department of State has updated its International Travel portal in response to the recent Russian government crackdown on its LGBT community. Since the passage of the anti-propaganda law in Russia this summer and an ongoing atmosphere of unchecked violence against the Russian LGBT community, it has been unclear as to how international tourists who are LGBT or support equality could be effected by the new legal regime.
In its update under “Special Circumstances,” the Department of State mentions the Russian anti-propaganda law, which outlaws even the most modest public gestures of support for LGBT equality, and bluntly mentions that “discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread.” The update informs potential tourists of fines that foreign nationals might face for violating the very vague anti-propaganda law (around $3100) as well as other consequences for violating the law, such as 15 days in jail and deportation.
“Commentators have suggested that the law may make it a crime to promote LGBT equality in public. Violence against the LGBT community has increased sharply since the law was passed, including entrapment and torture of young gay men by neo-Nazi gangs and the murder of multiple individuals due to their sexual orientation. Many view this legislation as encouraging such violence, with the majority of attacks against members of the LGBT community going unreported.”
Images via Wikimedia Commons
The update on the State Department’s Travel site comes a few days after the International Olympics Committee released a statement saying that it was satisfied with the Russian government’s assurances that no human rights violations will occur during the Sochi Olympics in February 2014, and that enforcement of the recent anti-LGBT laws do no conflict with the Olympic Charter. The Olympic Charter clearly condemns any discrimination or human rights violations calling them “un-Olympic.”