The Netherlands expresses concern about gay rights in Russia

Foreign minister Frans Timmerman has expressed concern on behalf of the Netherlands to Russia about a legislative bill that would make the dissemination of ‘homosexual propaganda’ a criminal offence. If the bill becomes law, it will have a discriminatory effect on gays and lesbians.

‘Anti-gay discrimination is unacceptable,’ said Mr Timmermans. ‘Gay rights are human rights, and Russia must uphold its international obligations. I call on the Russian parliament to vote against this law.’

Today, the Minister conveyed his concerns to the Russian ambassador to the Netherlands. Earlier in the week, the Netherlands endorsed a statements on behalf of the European Union. On 26 February Mr Timmermans will visit Russia, where he intends to discuss the matter with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

The bill was adopted by the State Duma, the Russian lower house, last Friday on its first reading. There will be two more votes before it is passed on to the upper house and to President Putin. Human rights experts at the United Nations have called on the Duma to vote against this anti-gay bill.