Senator Barbara Boxer – Open Letter to Putin on Russian Anti-LGBT Law

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The Honorable Vladimir Putin
President
Russian Federation

Dear President Putin:

As the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee dedicated to the protection of human rights, I urge you to work to repeal recent laws and policies that severely infringe upon the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Russia. These efforts—including legislation you recently signed banning “homosexual propaganda”—are not only an affront to fundamental principles of equality, but also contradict the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Russia is a party.

I support a strong United States-Russia bilateral relationship and believe we must work to strengthen this important relationship whenever possible. However, I cannot stay silent while your country works to put in place deeply discriminatory laws and policies undermining the rights of LGBT individuals, which have already had tangible and dangerous consequences. I have been shocked by images of Russian LGBT individuals—including young men and women—being harassed, threatened and severely beaten. If these laws and policies are not repealed, the consequences for human life and human dignity could get even worse.

Furthermore, I am deeply concerned about the significant detrimental impact of these laws on the Winter Olympic Games that Russia is scheduled to host next year. The United States—like many other countries—will be sending both LGBT athletes and spectators to the Games. I firmly expect Russia to support the Charter of the Olympic Games, which refers to sport as a human right that should be practiced without “discrimination of any kind.” Any attempt at discrimination will be met with significant protest and will leave a dark stain on Russia’s international image for decades to come.

I look forward to your favorable reply and action.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

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