The Netherlands has decided to protest against Russia’s anti-LGBT legislation by raising rainbow flags on public buildings as Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Amsterdam.
The international community and Europe in particular are keeping a close eye on the happenings in Russia, as fears over human rights infringements and authoritarianism increases. “¨”¨
Since the beginning of 2013, 11 Russian provinces have adopted “anti-homosexual propaganda” legislation that criminalizes any public display of homosexuality with punishments of up to two years in prison or an equivalent of a $16,000 fine.
Putin has also recently signed into law moratoriums on gay pride demonstrations in the Russian capital of Moscow.
The Action Committee Gay Message 4 Russia successfully urged the Dutch government to protest the increasingly dire situation facing LGBT people in Russia by raising the flags in a symbolic gesture of support for the international LGBT community.
“We Dutch are proud of our tolerance and acceptance of all people, and the LGBT community is no different,” 31-year-old gay activist Eduard told 429Magazine.
The Netherlands has a rich history of social liberalism, from being known as the cradle for the enlightenment during the 17th century to the present day, with it being the host country for many international courts and tribunals that put people suspected of crimes against humanity on trial.”¨”¨
“For Russia to do what they have done and for us not to say anything or do anything would be wrong, so that is why we are making a point that LGBT issues are human rights issues,” Eduard continued.
LGBT groups in Amsterdam have advocated not only hanging rainbow flags, but hanging them at half mast, to symbolize the uncertain times for LGBT people in Russia.
Putin is due to go to the Maritime Museum and The Hermitage Museum on April 8, where he and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will attend the official Netherlands-Russia 2013 Year of Friendship opening ceremony. The celebration marks a year since the two countries agreed on a cultural and economic exchange.