Tanya Cooper: 'Until Russian authorities rein in their own hateful rhetoric, acknowledge their obligation to protect those who identify as LGBT and their supporters, and act on that obligation, the attacks will continue'

posted 13 Apr 2016, 00:53 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Apr 2016, 00:54 ]
"It’s critical the prosecuting authorities do not ignore evidence of all possible motives for this gruesome killing, including Tsilikin’s sexual orientation. Russia has hate crime laws on the books that can be applied. I have reason to be skeptical: of the several dozen anti-LGBT attacks I've documented in recent years, none were investigated and prosecuted as hate crimes, even the ones that most blatantly involving a hate motive. Russian officials and state media spread hateful, anti-LGBT rhetoric. In this environment, the absence of any concerted official efforts to condemn discrimination against LGBT people is effectively a carte blanche to engage in homophobic violence. As Natalia Tsymbalova, an LGBT activist who knew Tsilikin, told me 'there will always be others who will go beyond words and express their hate through violence if they think it’s allowed.' Until Russian authorities rein in their own hateful rhetoric, acknowledge their obligation to protect those who identify as LGBT and their supporters, and act on that obligation, the attacks will continue. And some, like Dmitry Tsilikin, will pay with their lives."

- Tanya Cooper, Russia researcher, Human Rights Watch


Source: Tanya Cooper, 'Dispatches: He Paid With His Life for Being Gay in Russia,' Human Rights Watch, 13 April 2016
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