Sunday, 13 October 2013

Committee of Ministers give further consideration to Russian law on 'non-traditional sexual relations'

At its last DH Meeting, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe issued a further decision in respect of Alekseyev v Russia which focuses almost entirely on the new federal law relating to the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors. 
Although the Committee of Ministers use phrases such as 'strongly regretted', 'serious issues' and 'restrictive practices', it is difficult to read this as the robust condemnation that many would hope it would be. 
The supervision of the Alekseyev judgment has been going on for nearly three years. The situation in Russia has deteriorated since the Court gave its original judgment. No further judgment from the Court in respect of the regional or federal propaganda laws is on the horizon. Could the Committee of Ministers not issue something stronger than this?
The full text of the decision:
The Deputies


1. strongly regretted that the new federal law prohibiting the so called propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations amongst minors contains a number of provisions raising serious issues under the Convention and was adopted in circumstances that did not allow full consideration to be given to the Venice Commission Opinion;
2. recalled that the Committee has already expressed its concerns in respect of similar provisions of regional laws;
3. noted that the new law could undermine the effective exercise of the freedom of assembly notably on account of the ambiguous terms it contains giving rise to a risk of arbitrary application and of continuation, if not reinforcement, of restrictive practices of the local authorities;
4. took note however of the assurances given by the Russian authorities that the new law itself does not interfere with holding public events similar to those described in the Alekseyev judgment and invited the authorities to subject its implementation to strict monitoring in order to prevent any arbitrariness in its application;
5. invited in parallel the authorities to adopt specific measures raising awareness among the general public and, in particular, the relevant authorities of the fundamental rights and freedoms of LGBT persons, without discrimination, in order to avoid that the new law contributes to the existing tensions, and to motivate further the refusal of public events for reasons of security and public order;
6. recalling the utmost importance of providing to the Committee of Ministers an action plan, called upon the authorities to submit as soon as possible the comprehensive action plan required in this case;
7. decided to resume consideration of these issues at the latest at their 1193rd meeting (March 2014) (DH).
Available here:

https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=CM/Del/OJ/DH(2013)1179/14&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=original&Site=CM&BackColorInternet=DBDCF2&BackColorIntranet=FDC864&BackColorLogged=FDC864








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