Irish youth groups challenge Russian ambassador

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Youth groups in Ireland handed a letter to the country’s Russian ambassador on August 7, to rally against the violent treatment of LGBT young people in Russia.

BeLonG To Youth Services, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) and the International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) have joined together to challenge Russian diplomats into action.

The letter from BeLonG To, NYCI, USI and IGLYO requested that the Russian Ambassador meet with them following the passage of laws in Russia that prohibit the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

“Today we send a message of solidarity and support to our Russian peers – young people like ourselves who are being forced to live each day in fear of violence,” the letter states.

“No young person anywhere in the world should be persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Speaking on Wednesday, the advocacy officer with BeLonG To Youth Services, Carol-Anne O’Brien, said in a press release that increasing violence meant action was needed immediately.

“We wish to express our strong support for LGBT groups and young people in Russia as they face this worsening situation. We were shocked to view videos which have spread online, involving the luring, torturing and forced outing of LGBT youth.”

“Many of these young people have been traumatised, ostracised and some media are claiming that people have been murdered.”

Under the recent legislation, fines can now be imposed on those who provide information about the LGBT community to minors. Public displays of affection or activities regarded as counter to the law may also lead to penalties and arrests.

Tourists are also within the law’s jurisdiction and could face detention for up to 15 days or even deportation. Separate legislation approved in July bans same-sex couples, or heterosexual couples from countries with marriage equality, from adopting Russian children.

“We believe that recently passed homophobic laws are providing justification for large increases in public displays of aggression towards LGBT youth,” Ms. O’Brien added.

“These inhumane acts are in clear violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, [and]other international human rights documents to which Russia is a signatory.”

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