Gilmore Confirms That Irish Government Condemns Russia's Anti-Gay Legislation
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has confirmed in a statement that the government "strongly disagree with the recent Russian legislation" and are exploring what "actions can most effectively be pursued, possibly together with our EU partners".
The statement from Gilmore comes as a response to formal letters of protest written by LGBT activist groups including BeLonG To Youth Services, the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) the International LGBTQ Youth & Student Organisation (IGLYO) last month.
The letter reads:
"We have been monitoring the situation in the Russian Federation very carefully, both through our Embassy in Moscow and in consultation with our EU partners. The Tánaiste is on record in the Dáil and elsewhere confirming Ireland's strong commitment to combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Ireland's position is that consensual, same-sex relationships should not be criminalised and we strongly support measures to ensure that the right to freedom of expression and association can be enjoyed effectively by all.
Therefore, we strongly disagree with the recent Russian legislation and have made our position known to senior officials at the Russian Embassy in Ireland and will continue to do so. We believe that discriminatory legal or administrative provisions which curtain the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender people are not acceptable. Any acts of violence directed against member of the LGBTI community are to be deplored.
The Tánaiste has made LGBTI rights a Human Rights priority. Ireland co-sponsored a historic resolution on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity at the UN's Human Rights Council (HRC) on 17 June 2011. The Tánaiste was delighted to see the adoption of this resolution, which was the first time a UN resolution explicitly acknowledged human rights protection as covering sexual orientation. Speaking as EU Presidency earlier this year at the HRC, the Tánaiste reiterated the EU's grave concern over incidents of discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. He said this issue needs to remain on the agenda of the UN.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will remain seized of this issue and will explore what actions can most effectively be pursued, possibly together with our EU partners."
Welcoming the Tánaiste's response, Executive Director of BeLonG To, Michael Barron said, "We welcome the Tánaiste's response and are heartened by his forthright commitment to LGBTI rights and to taking action to support LGBTI people in Russia at this vital moment."