The Russian Foreign Ministry has released a report on the human rights record of the European Union. It begins with a rather honest and astute reflection of problems facing the EU:
The most pressing human rights issues in the EU still include a steady growth of xenophobia, racism, violent nationalism, chauvinism and neo-Nazism. In the context of financial and economic crisis that continues in Europe, grave violations of the rights of minorities, refugees and migrants are increasing, and social rights of citizens are being infringed upon. Such issues as the lack of protection of children’s rights, gender inequality, abuse of power by the police, violations of the prisoners’ rights and harboring by a number of EU countries of CIA black sites remain acute. The facts proving systematic and mass violations of privacy and infringements on the freedom of speech and media have caused a special concern.
The report goes on to make some interesting claims about how the structure of the EU makes it hard to address these concerns.
The content here may not be the problem, but rather the source of the statement. Many human rights groups often point to significant abuses inside Russia on all of these fronts. Of particular concern in the report is the growth of xenophobia and neo-Nazism, for example. Many would agree that this is a problem that has not received enough attention. But Russia is also impacted by a wave of xenophobia that is washing over Eastern and Central Europe.
Then the report makes its most controversial claims by saying that the EU, which represents itself as a bastion of human rights, is trying to promote homosexuality and impose non-traditional values on the rest of the world, including the promotion of a liberal attitude towards “queers.” Here is a key excerpt:
Against this background, the European Union and its Member States consider, as one of their priorities, the dissemination of their neo-liberal values as a universal lifestyle for all other members of the international community. This is particularly evident in their aggressive promotion of the sexual minorities’ rights. Attempts have been made to enforce on other countries an alien view of homosexuality and same-sex marriages as a norm of life and some kind of a natural social phenomenon that deserves support at the state level. Such an approach encounters resistance not only in the countries upholding traditional values, but also in those countries which have always taken a liberal attitude towards queers. Suffice it to recall the protest reaction of a major part of the French society to the decision on legalization of same-sex marriages in the country.
The “unofficial translation” can be downloaded from the Foreign Ministry’s website. Below is a summary from Grani.Ru. — Ed.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the EU is engaged in “aggressive promotion of sexual minorities’ rights.” This accusation is contained in the report “On the situation with human rights in the European Union” in 2012 and 2013, published on the Ministry’s website.
According to the Foreign Ministry officials, the EU is trying to “make other countries embrace a notion that homosexuality and gay marriage is a norm of life and some natural social phenomenon worthy of support at the state level.” Such a policy, the report says, is resisted not only in the countries “that adhere to traditional values ,” but also in those states where the society is traditionally tolerant towards the LGBT community. As an example the authors mention rallies in France against the legalization of gay marriage and adoption of children by same-sex couples, in which thousands of people participated.
Even though the EU “continues to position itself as the main outpost of the struggle for human rights in the world,” its own legal practice “does not confirm the validity of these claims,” as stated in the report. In the EU, according to the Foreign Ministry, violations of basic human rights are common, especially, for example, in the Balkan countries, in terms of restrictions on freedom of movement. Also, officials point to further dissemination of extremist and nationalist ideas, noting Europe underestimates the risk they pose.
On Monday, 27 Nobel Prize laureates signed an open letter to Vladimir Putin to abolish the law they consider homophobic. According to the authors of the letter, the law “encroaches upon the rights and freedoms of local and foreign lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people” and has already contributed to increased violence and even suicides.