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Statement on the Russian Supreme Court’s decision to label the so-called “international LGBT movement” as “extremist”

MINISTERS’ DEPUTIES 1484th meeting, 13 December 2023

Statement on the Russian Supreme Court’s decision to label the so-called “international
LGBT movement” as “extremist”

The delegations of Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech
Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia,
Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, the
Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic,
Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom strongly condemn the
recent decision by the Russian Supreme Court on 30 November designating the so-called
“international LGBT movement” as “extremist” and banning its activity on the territory of the
Russian Federation. This decision was followed by reports of police raids on a number of
LGBTI-friendly clubs and other establishments in Moscow and in St Petersburg.

Labelling an already stigmatised group of people as “extremist” without proof of any
organisational structure or shared intent, let alone criminal activity, increases the existing
climate of fear and intimidation in Russia.

This decision impacts the human rights of all individuals living in Russia. It has a corrosive
effect on society as a whole and undermines freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of
expression and freedom of association. It places human rights defenders and those advocating
for the rights of LGBTI persons at risk of being unjustly labelled as “extremist”, with serious
social and criminal consequences in Russia.

We are deeply concerned about the safety implications of this decision and its potential threat
to any individuals associated with or supporting LGBTI activities in Russia and those beyond
its territory.

Although Russia is no longer a member of the CoE, the Reykjavík Summit with the Reykjavík
Declaration highlighted the pan-European role of the Council of Europe, pledging to strengthen
engagement with democratic actors in Europe and creating an enabling environment for human
rights defenders. This commitment applies to the Russian human rights defenders, democratic
forces, free media, and independent civil society and aligns with the Committee of Ministers’
Resolution CM/Res(2022)3 on the legal and financial consequences of the cessation of
membership of the Russian Federation in the Council of Europe.

We firmly oppose discrimination, prejudice and hate, and stand in solidarity with all who are
adversely affected by this decision.

Russia must stop unfounded repression and uphold its international obligations to respect,
protect and fulfil all human rights without discrimination of any kind.

Finally, we believe it is the obligation of this Committee of Ministers and other CoE bodies to
play an important role in promoting and showing solidarity with those affected.


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