On December 4, 2023, the OHCHR referred to an official letter published by Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups that raised concerns about the Russian decision banning the international LGBT movement as “extremist”. Last November 30, Russia’s Supreme Court determined that the “international LGBT movement” is an “extremist organization”, jeopardizing all forms of LGBT activities and organizations within the country. Subsequently, Russian authorities conducted several raids at places commonly visited by LGBT persons to control visitor’s identity documents, creating risks of harassment and misuse of their personal information.

Russian LGBT community

Russian LGBT community demonstration against measures deeming the movement as “extremist”. Source. ACNUDH.

According to the available data, in 2022, 255 people were charged without proper grounds for the crime of “extremism” or related crimes for their connection to the LGBT movement, which is incompatible with international human rights obligations. As a consequence, on December 4, several UN experts[1] sent an official letter to the Russian government, outlining their concerns about the Supreme Court decision, and actions aimed at intimidating and instilling fear within the LGBT community in Russia. Furthermore, the UN experts noticed that human rights defenders are being forced to discontinue their activities for fear of criminal prosecution, and many of them are fleeing the country or planning to do so. Finally, they urged Russia to reject the decision of the Supreme Court and put an immediate end to the abuse of “extremism” legislation in the country. The press release can be found here.

[1] The official letter was signed by: a) the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation; b) the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism; c) the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; d) the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and d) the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls.