Communication No. 2318/2013
UN Human Rights Committee
The author, an LGBTQ activist put up a poster which read “Homosexuality is a healthy form of sexuality This should be known by children and adults!” and displayed it near the entrance to a children’s library. He was fined for propaganda of homosexuality among minors. The Human Rights Committee found a violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Date: 17 July 2018
Description of applicant(s): Citizen/Activist
Brief description of facts:
On 1 January 2012, the author, an LGBTQ activist, displayed a poster, which read “Homosexuality is a healthy form of sexuality. This should be known by children and adults!” The poster was displayed near the entrance to the Arkhangelsk regional children’s library. The purpose of this action was to promote the idea of tolerance towards the gay and lesbian minority in the Russian Federation. He was given an administrative fine for ‘public actions aimed at propaganda of homosexuality among minors.’
(Alleged) target(s) of speech: LGBT persons
The Committee’s assessment of the impugned speech:
The Committee did not consider that protecting minors from ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ was legitimate but that it, instead, constituted discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It held that the wording of the law which included phrases such as ‘promoting propaganda of homosexuality’ were highly ambiguous and thus unlawful.
Important paragraph(s) from the decision:
7.5…The Committee accordingly considers that the State party has failed to establish that the ban on propaganda of homosexuality among minors that was applied to the author was based on reasonable and objective criteria and in pursuit of an aim that is legitimate under the Covenant, and that the prohibition therefore discriminated against him on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in violation of article 26.
7.7…The Committee observes that the wording of section 2.13 of the regional law, including “promoting propaganda of homosexuality”, is highly ambiguous as to the actions being prohibited19 and therefore does not satisfy the requirement of lawfulness under article 19 (3).
ICCPR Article: Article 19