Several violent homophobic killings have taken place in Russia since the start of 2013 – the most recent involving a 39-year-old man in a village on the Kamchatka.
On the 13th of June, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the “anti-propaganda” law voted in Russia’s federal Duma earlier that week.
It fines anyone organising a gay pride event or giving information about LGBT issues to those under the age of 18.
Members of the European Parliament noted that “[Russian] federal authorities have done nothing to stop discriminatory legislation banning ‘homosexual propaganda’ from coming into effect in nine regions of Russia”.
The Parliament said it was “deeply concerned by the negative consequences of the adoption of a federal law on ‘homosexual propaganda’, which could increase discrimination and violence against LGBTI individuals”.
The Council of Europe also condemned Russia’s new laws, which unduly restrict free speech in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.
In 2012, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that these laws breached the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Russia.
Michael Cashman, the British Labour MEP and co-president of the LGBT Intergroup, said: “hate speech from Putin and others had resulted in the barbaric killing of gay men”.
“This is unacceptable and uncivilised. The EU must continue to systematically express its strongest opposition to laws that restrict freedom of expression”, the MEP added.
The Austrian MEP Ulrike Lunacek MEP, who is also co-president of the LGBT Intergroup, said: “Not a month passes without Russia becoming less and less of a democracy. In addition to the propaganda law, the ‘Foreign Agents’ law also places undue pressure on NGOs.”
“Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev are the most dangerous same-sex couple in Europe these days; the EU and the Council of Europe need to up the pressure against Russia after these terrible laws are passed.”