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Russian Ombudsman Speaks Out for the Rights of Sexual Minorities

Source: (info), 18/03/11

· Ombudsmen · Sexual Minorities · Tyumen Region

Vladimir Lukin, the Human Rights Ombudsman for the Russian Federation, has sent an appeal to the presidium of the Tyumen Regional Court requesting that the decision of the Central District Court and the ruling of the Regional Court be revoked and that the town administration's refusal to allow a picket by LGBT activists as part of the information campaign “Week Against Homophobia 2010” be recognised as illegal. He has therefore responded to complaints made by LGBT activists (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people).

On 5 April last year, the police prohibited activists from the Tyumen branch of the Russian LGBT Network and the local LGBT organisation Rainbow House from staging an event in the town centre called “Tree of Tolerance.”

Human rights defenders had suggested tying ribbons to a tree, thereby expressing their attitude to the problem of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Citing the ban imposed by the town's administration, police officers threatened to arrest for breach of the peace anyone who approached the tree.

On 5 July, the Central District Court of Tyumen rejected an appeal by LGBT activists against the Tyumen city administration’s refusal to allow the picket be recognised as illegal. On 27 September, the Tyumen Regional Court upheld the District Court's ruling.

As notes, Vladimir Lukin has stated repeatedly that he will look into complaints of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity on a par with any other complaint. He spoke about this, in particular, at a meeting with representatives of the Russian LGBT Network in 2009.