Irish Youth Groups Voice Concerns to Russian Ambassador

belongprotest

Pictured: (L-R) Patrick Dempsey (Board Member IGLYO), Mary Cunningham (Director NYCI), Laura Harmon (VP Equality and Citizenship Director USI) & Carol-Anne O’Brien (Advocacy Coordinator BeLonG To Youth Services).

Several Irish youth groups have handed in a letter to Russia’s ambassador to Ireland today, to protest at the violent treatment of LGBT people in Russia after a gay teenager who was allegedly kidnapped and beaten by neo-Nazis died of his injuries.

BeLonG To, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) and the International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) have joined together to express their concern at the rise in public violence towards LGBT young people in Russia following the recent passing of  homophobic legislation in the Russian parliament.

The legislation prevents the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relationships” and “prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality to minors”.

Speaking today Carol-Anne O’Brien, Advocacy Officer with BeLonG To Youth Services said: “We wish to express our strong support for LGBT groups and young people in Russia as they face this worsening situation.

“We were shocked to view videos which have spread online, involving the luring, torturing and forced outing of LGBT youth.

“Many of these young people have been traumatised, ostracised and some media are claiming that people have been murdered.”

Spectrum Human Rights reports that the gay teenager who was kidnapped, tortured and forced to come out to his parents died from his injuries caused by the attack, and quotes a doctor who is associated with the campaign against homophobia in Russia.

“We believe that recently passed homophobic laws are providing justification for large increases in public displays of aggression towards LGBT youth,” Ms O’Brien adds.

“These inhumane acts are in clear violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as other international human rights documents to which Russia is a signatory.”

Videos have also recently emerged online showing LGBT young people being exposed to luring, bullying, torture and forced outing.

And, according to Russia’s leading research agency, the Levada Center, roughly 74% of Russians consider members of the LGBT community to be mentally ill.

The letter from BeLonG To, NYCI, USI and IGLYO requested that the Russian Ambassador meet with them to discuss the situation.

“Today we send a message of solidarity and support to our Russian peers – young people like ourselves who are being forced to live each day in fear of violence,” the letter states.

“No young person anywhere in the world should be persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Read the joint letter sent to the Russian Embassy in Dublin here.

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