MP considers UK’s withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights a gift to Russia

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BELFAST, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 17: Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives at Belfast International Airport on June 17, 2013 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The two-day G8 summit, hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, is being held in Northern Ireland for the first time. Leaders from the G8 nations have gathered to discuss numerous topics with the situation in Syria expected to dominate the talks. (Photo by Peter Muhly - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The concerns arose in a report from Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, which cited extreme concern about the aggressive homophobia in Russia which is even fixed in the country’s laws. The report warns that Theresa May’s proposals to pull the UK out of the human rights convention would give a sign to Russia that human rights are disrespected in UK as well, so they (Russians) will have a piece of extra motivation to continue discriminating LGBT. The committee, chaired by out Tory MP Crispin Blunt, also flags concerns that the withdrawal plan would also “deprive the UK of a key source of soft power and influence among reformers and human rights activists in Russia”. It adds: “In order to maintain international standards on human rights, the UK Government should not withdraw from the ECHR and should make it clear that no such step is contemplated”. Being involved in the organization does not depend on Brexit because it is not ruled by the EU. MPs cited a Human Rights Watch study that warned: “The Russian authorities have introduced severe restrictions on freedom of association and expression, and political opponents, journalists and NGOs are harassed, threatened, repressed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their criticisms of state policy. The country’s discriminatory legislation on lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people is used to harass LGBT and disrupt pro-LGBT events and the authorities largely fail to prevent or prosecute homophobic violence.” The committee added: “Anti-liberal rhetoric has been reflected in Russian law, particularly on LGBT and human rights issues. In 2013, for example, the State Duma passed a law imposing heavy fines on individuals and groups accused of “promoting” homosexuality to minors in order to protect the “religious feelings of the faithful”. When we visited Russia, we met representatives of several groups that had been branded as ‘foreign agents’, including journalists, LGBT rights activists, social science researchers and veterans’ rights advocates. They described the huge practical impediments to their work that resulted from their being labelled in this way, including fines and the imposition of major bureaucratic obstacles.”

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