Russia: Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group Denied Legal Registration

The Triangle Center was denied official registration by the Ministry of Justice on 21 July 1995. In a letter to the Center the Deputy Chief of the Ministry of Justice, Mr K. Visknevski, stated that recognizing the Center would "contradict public standards of morality and does not correspond to requirements of Article 23 of the Federal Law on Non-Governmental Organizations."

Article 23 specifically states that registration of an organization will be denied if its name insults moral, national and religious senses of citizens. The Triangle Center is a Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Center in Moscow which focuses on uniting people of homo/bisexual orientation, defending their rights and fighting against discrimination and homophobia in Russian society.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in the Russian Federation on 29 April 1993. However, harassment of and discrimination against lesbians and gay Russians by both state and extra official actors continue to be a serious problem. Organizations such as the Triangle Center are essential watch-dogs in a country where the gay, lesbian and bisexual population has been disenfranchised and brutally repressed for so long.

A sample letter might read:

Dear Minister,

I am writing to express my concern at the denial of official registration for the Triangle Center by Deputy Chief K. Vishnevski on the 21 July 1995.

The Triangle Center fights against discrimination based on sexual orientation, provides essential HIV/AIDS awareness, education and prevention in the Federation.

Freedom of association and speech, and the right to live free of discrimination and indispensable to complete human development.

The Center's goals are important to the human rights and dignity of those whom the 29 April 1993 law is designed to protect. I respectfully ask that the Triangle Center be given the same protection, recognition and responsibility of other non-governmental groups in the Federation and be granted official registration.

Sincerely,

Respectfully worded letters of protest and concern should be sent to:

The Russian Federation Ministry of Justice
attn: Minister Mr Valentin A. Kovalev
4 Vorontsovo pole
Moscow, 109830
RUSSIA