Communication No. 1932/2010
UN Human Rights Committee
The author, an LGBTQ activist, displayed posters that “Homosexuality is normal” and “I am proud of my homosexuality” near a secondary school. She was fined for propaganda of homosexuality among minors. The Human Rights Committee found a violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Date: 31 October 2012
Description of applicant(s): Citizen/Activist
Brief description of facts: On 30 March 2009, the author, an LGBTQ activist, displayed posters that declared “Homosexuality is normal” and “I am proud of my homosexuality” near a secondary school building in Ryazan. According to her, the purpose of this action was to promote tolerance towards gay and lesbian individuals in Russia. Her actions were interrupted by police and, on 6 April 2009, she received an administrative fine for public actions aimed at propaganda of homosexuality among minors. Appeals failed.
(Alleged) target(s) of speech: LGBTQ persons
The Committee’s assessment of the impugned speech: The Committee found that the State Party failed to demonstrate how the author posed a risk to the welfare of minors and also underlined that the author sought to raise awareness of her sexual identity rather than advocate any particular sexual orientation. In this light, it found that by imposing an administrative fine on the author for the display of posters, Russia violated Article 19 of the ICCPR.
Important paragraph(s) from the decision:
10.7 Furthermore, the Committee is of the view that, by displaying posters that declared “Homosexuality is normal” and “I am proud of my homosexuality” near a secondary school building, the author has not made any public actions aimed at involving minors in any particular sexual activity or at advocating any particular sexual orientation. Instead, she was giving expression to her sexual identity and seeking understanding for it.
10.8….While the Committee recognizes the role of the State party‟s authorities in protecting the welfare of minors, it observes that the State party failed to demonstrate why, on the facts of the present communication, it was necessary for one of the legitimate purposes of article 19, paragraph 3, of the Covenant to restrict the author‟s right to freedom of expression on the basis of section 3.10 of the Ryazan Region Law, for expressing her sexual identity and seeking understanding for it, even if indeed, as argued by the State party, she intended to engage children in the discussion of issues related to homosexuality.
ICCPR Article: Article 19