2013-05-22 11:28:00

CoE secretary general urges Russia to protect gay rights to demonstrations, freedom of speech (updated)

Moscow, May 22, Interfax - The Russian authorities should ensure the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community's rights, such as the right of expression, including by means of demonstrations, which is among the principal provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said at a press conference at the Interfax main office on Wednesday.

Members of the LGBT community should have the same rights as other people in terms of holding demonstrations, expressing their views and so on, but the Council of Europe is not calling for granting the LGBT community some special rights, Jagland said.

The Council of Europe is also calling on the Russian State Duma to not pass legislation banning the propaganda of homosexuality among the underage.

Jagland said that his position on the issue is clear and that he had earlier forwarded a letter to the State Duma chairman, urging him not to pass the said legislation in the second reading.

It is important that any bill on this issue, as well as any other, not undermine the fundamental principle of freedom of speech, he said.