Earlier this month, HRC staff met with a diverse group of human rights lawyers from Russia. The group of lawyers, who were visiting Washington, D.C., through the Library of Congress’ Open World Program, sought to explore the intersectionality of LGBTQ issues and their own respective causes.
The atmosphere of the meeting was lively as the two groups discussed HRC’s work to achieve LGBTQ equality. HRC Associate Legal Director Robin Maril explained the current patchwork of legal LGBTQ protections in the United States, while HRC Global Deputy Director Jean Freedberg focused on the current LGBTQ situation in Russia. The lawyers were especially curious to learn more about HRC’s Project One America, a comprehensive campaign to expand LGBTQ equality in the South, and how the principles of the campaign could be applied in Russia. Throughout the discussion, the lawyers repeatedly highlighted the legal challenges that the Russian LGBTQ community faces.
The LGBTQ community in Russia continues to face discrimination on both societal and political levels. In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the widely condemned anti-LGBTQ propaganda law into effect, which had disastrous consequences for the local LGBTQ community. A year after that law was passed, HRC released a report documenting the deadly backlash against LGBTQ people in the country.
HRC’s meeting with the group of lawyers followed the brutal murder of Raina Aliev, a 25-year-old transgender woman whose mutilated body was recently found in the North Caucasus region of Russia.
HRC will continue to monitor the situation in Russia and looks forward to building on our relationships with advocates and allies there.