United Kingdom

Cameron to confront Putin on LGBT rights while in Russia for G20 summit

David Cameron

David Cameron

LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron will confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over LGBT rights in Russia during a previously scheduled private meeting later this week at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, a British government official confirmed Wednesday.

The official told LGBTQ Nation that Cameron intends to question the Russian leader over the impact of the “anti-gay propaganda law” signed earlier this summer, which has led to widespread global condemnation and criticism.

David Cameron

On Tuesday, Alistair Burt, the British Under Secretary of State from Foreign and Commonwealth Office, met with human rights activist Peter Tatchell and All Out’s Marie Campbell, and briefed them on the Prime Minister’s plans.

“While we welcome David Cameron’s commitment to raise gay rights with President Putin, we also want him to put the issue on the G20 summit agenda and to get other G20 world leaders to sign a joint declaration against homophobia,” Tatchell said after the meeting. “This would be a very effective rebuke to Putin.”

“We put this request to Alistair Burt at our meeting with him. He offered to forward it to David Cameron for his consideration,” said Tatchell.

The meeting coincided with the “Speak Out” global protest held in 33 cities across 21 countries, and organized by All Out and Tatchell’s Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“[Tuesday’s] global protests let Putin know that the world is watching and that people in many countries object to his government’s anti-gay policies. We also sent a signal to Russian LGBT people that they are not alone. We stand with them in solidarity,” said Tatchell.

The law on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” which Putin signed in on June 29, makes it illegal to expose minors to information that portrays these relationships as normal or attractive. The law imposes hefty fines, while also subjecting foreign citizens to up to 15 days in prison.

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In an interview with The Associated Press late Tuesday, Putin sought to ease international concerns that the law would be used to punish athletes who display rainbow flags during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and insisted that gays are not discriminated against in his country.

“I assure you that I work with these [LGBT] people, I sometimes award them with state prizes or decorations for their achievements in various fields,” said Putin. “We have absolutely normal relations, and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary here.”

The White House announced Tuesday that President Barack Obama has arranged to meet privately on Thursday with human rights and LGBT activists regarding the law and the status of LGBT rights in Russia while in Russia for the G20 summit.

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