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Action, assurances sought over Russian law

Wed 17 Jul 2013 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

The Foreign Affairs Minister is being urged to use diplomatic channels to raise concerns about Russia's crushing of LGBTI rights, and to ensure New Zealanders are safe in the nation. Green MP Jan Logie has written to Murray McCully about Russia’s ‘gay propaganda law,’ saying “I am sure you agree that this law is totally against human rights. International commitments to human rights are not contingent on traditional values and LGBTI people deserve to be safe from discrimination.” Russia has passed a law allowing authorities to impose hefty fines one anyone holding gay pride rallies, or giving young people information about anything LGBTI-related. Foreigners can not only be fined for anything pro-gay, but also arrested for 15 days and deported. Gay speed-skater Blake Skjellerup will be among those competing at the Sochi Winter Olympics and has promised to wear a pride pin while he is there. Logie is concerned about New Zealanders living in Russia, and those visiting, particularly for the Winter Olympics next year: “I am asking you to seek assurance from Russia of safety for LGBTI New Zealanders while they are there – whether they are business people, students, NGOs workers, or sports people,” she says in her letter to McCully. “We have gay athletes who will be representing New Zealand at the Winter Olympics and we as a country need to support them while they are there.” Logie says the Foreign Minister responded positively when she asked for New Zealand to use its diplomatic networks to lobby against Russia’s traditional values resolution last year. She is planning to put together a motion against the discriminatory laws, which she will seek support for when Parliament resumes sitting in a couple of weeks. “I’m also keen to explore whether we can develop a community based solidarity campaign for the Russian LGBTI communities and challenge to the efforts to undermine the UN Human Rights Council through the resolution on traditional values and a more recent one put up, and withdrawn at the last minute, by Egypt and supported by Russia to promote the protection of the family,” she says. “Russia and other countries need to clarify that human rights are not contingent on traditional values.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 17th July 2013 - 3:54pm

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