Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power has called on Irish government representatives attending this week’s Council of Europe meeting in Strasbourg to robustly challenge Russia on its anti-gay laws and make clear that such legislation is a breach of the country’s international obligations. 

Senator Power said: “The Council of Europe is convening in Strasbourg this week for the express purpose of monitoring states’ compliance with judgements of the European Court of Human Rights. One of the specific items on the agenda is Russia’s response to a judgment which found that the country’s ban on gay pride parades breaches the European Convention on Human Rights. Not only have the Russian authorities ignored this judgment, they also introduced even more draconian laws earlier this year which effectively prohibit any public expression of support for gay rights. 

“It is essential that Ireland uses the Council of Europe meeting to condemn this persecution of LGBT Russians and their supporters and put pressure on the Russian government to honour its international human rights obligations. 

“The Tánaiste has signalled his strong support for LGBT rights both at home and abroad and has promised to work with like-minded partners in response to the Russian anti-gay legislation. The Council of Europe gathering provides an important forum to put those words into action and for Ireland to take the lead on an issue that has understandably caused an international outcry.

“As a member of the Council of Europe, Russia is duty bound to honour the judgements of the European Court, including that bans on LGBT public expression are in violation of European law. I will be seeking an update from the Tánaiste as to whether Irish officials at the meeting challenged Russia on this issue and took the opportunity to agree a strategy with our European partners to ensure that Russia honours its obligations,” Senator Power concluded.