Russian Human Rights group declares anti-propaganda law harmful to youth

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In June of 2013, Russia passed laws against “homosexual propaganda,” which bans the country’s youth from even being told homosexuality exists. While lawmakers claim the homophobic legislation was put in place to protect children, Russia’s oldest human rights organization recently released a report in dispute of that.

According to the report from Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG), Russia’s anti-propaganda laws violate one of the essential concepts of the United Nations: always act in the best interest of the child. MHG claims that Putin and his lawmakers are more concerned with “preserving Russian family values.”

MHG reasons that the escalation of homophobia and gay hate crimes within the country demonstrate the harm the law has had on the community. They argue that being subjected to such a violent environment is far more harmful to Russian youth, especially teenagers.

The group advises that the Russian government overturn the anti-propaganda laws put in place this past summer. In addition, MHG implores them to abandon the law that bars adoption by a straight or gay couple from any country that has allowed for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

In a statement on behalf of MHG, a spokesperson said, “With formal recognition of international law, [this legislation]denies one of the basic concepts of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child—the concept of the ‘best interests of the child,’ created to customize the decisions taken within the framework of the national legal systems in the interests of the individual child.”

Putin’s anti-propaganda have proved especially controversial in the wake of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, set to begin next week, February 7. However, IOC President Thomas Bach claims that no visiting LGBT athlete will be harmed under the laws. In a recent interview, Putin said that gay spectators would be allowed to attend the games, so long as they “leave the children alone.”

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