A group of United Nations experts on human rights have sent a notification to the Russian government asking them to kill a bill that would make it illegal to display “homosexual propaganda.”
The UN issued a statement on Feb. 1 calling upon the country’s lower house of parliament, known as the State Duma, to reconsider scrapping the bill on the basis of human rights infringement.
“Any restriction on freedom of opinion and expression should be based on reasonable and objective criteria, which is not fulfilled by the draft bill approved during the first reading by the Duma,” Frank La Rue, a UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, said in a statement.
“The law could potentially be interpreted very broadly and thereby violate not only the right to freedom of expression but also the prohibition of discrimination.”
If approved, the bill could also have a negative impact on health issues, according to UN special rapporteur on the right to health Anand Grover.
“Banning ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ may not only penalize those who promote sexual and reproductive health among LGBT people, but will also undermine the right of children to access health-related information in order to safeguard their physical and mental health,” he said.
The bill is still being debated in the Russian Duma. If parliament approves it, it would make gay pride parades a prosecutable offense, and even something like waving a rainbow flag a crime, the Gay Star News reports.
The dissemination of information on LGBT-related topics to minors would also be illegal.