Concerns raised that Belarus may enact anti-gay law similar to Russia’s

The Equal Rights Trust (ERT) raised concerns last week about a draft law which is yet to be released. According to the organisation, work has begun on a bill intended to protect children from “propaganda of homosexuality”, and it was included in a presidential decree concerning the legislative agenda of parliament.

Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director of Equal Rights Trust, said: “While in Minsk I saw signs that Belarus may be starting to distance itself from Moscow in the wake of the annexation of Crimea. Yet, at the same time, we learn that the country plans to replicate Russia’s homophobic law, relying on populist calls to defend children from ‘propaganda of homosexuality’. Belarus, despite its pariah status, has a good record on promoting equality for women, disabled persons and others. We urge the government to resist the wave of homophobia issuing from Russia and uphold its track record on issues of equality.”

The ERT also notes a rise in the use of homophobic language in Belarusian media in the last year. Some have even incited violence, and others have likened homosexuality and paedophilia.