The Government’s Position on Russian Discriminatory Legislation on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 54th MEETING, 16 JULY 2013.

On 16 July 2013, the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lapo Pistelli, explained before the Chamber of Deputies the Government’s view on the manifest violation of human rights contained in the recent Russian legislation against the LGBT community. He outlined the risks that such situations pose, the actions taken in the case and the role of EU organs and international organizations in the light of the universality of human rights.

He said:

The entry into force of the recently approved legislation represents a breach of the freedom of assembly and association for LGBT community and probably paves the way for further human rights limitations in Russia, in particular with regard to the freedom of expression. Such provisions are – alas – part of a wider range of restrictive measures approved in the recent months by the Russian Federation, on which we have expressed our concerns, also in the light of the negative implications they may have on the strategic partnership between Italy and Russia.

By reason of its universal character, we consider that this issue should be first of all dealt with at international level, both within the UN system and the EU one, the closest to us. In this regard, we have shared the view expressed in the declaration delivered by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Ms Ashton, on 20 June. This document stigmatized the highly discriminatory character of the aforementioned legislation and highlighted, with our full support, its inconsistency with the European Convention of Human Rights, reminding Russian rulers their duty to comply with the obligations undertaken at international level, first of all within the Council of Europe, in the fields of non-discrimination, freedom of expression, of assembly and association.

From this point of view, we esteem the EU to be the most suitable path for achieving results, since it can raise awareness and exercise pressure in the context of the strategic partnership between the Union and Russia, which requires regular and specific consultations, also on human rights issues.

He added:

At European level, we insist on raising the awareness of our counterpart on the need to design policies aiming to increase the standards of human rights protection in that Country. Our actions mostly focus on this fil rouge, i.e. opposing the emergence of any confrontation between Russia and the European Union on the basis of an alleged principle of “diversity of values”, which we reject, since we believe that the principle of universality and indivisibility of human rights should be shared, both here and there.

The Italian version of the statement can be found at:

http://documenti.camera.it/leg17/resoconti/assemblea/html/sed0054/stenografico.pdf

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