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Children’s Rights in the Time of the Russian “Gay Propaganda Law”

people walking near st. basils cathedral in moscow

October 11, 2019

In 2013, what has become known as the “gay propaganda law” – a law banning the distribution of materials related to “nontraditional sexual relations” to minors – was passed in Russia. Despite having been deemed discriminatory and in violation of human rights, the law remains intact.

In an article in Health and Human Rights Journal, Caroline Voyles, MPH, PhD candidate and director of Student Placement and Partnership Development at the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH), in partnership with Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH, professor in the department of Health Management and Policy and director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at DSPH, used Maxim Neverov’s case to discuss the health and rights implications of the enforcement of this law. Neverov, a 16-year-old child and political activist, was fined for posting a picture deemed as propaganda.

Voyles and Chilton examined human rights documents to demonstrate that while a state has the obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill its human rights obligations, this particular case demonstrates how Russia is instead dangerously rejecting, neglecting, and regressing in its commitment to supporting children’s rights. Among the rights violated are those related to the right to information, to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and to life. This work contributes to the international discussion about the harmful effects of the law on sexual and gender minorities and their allies and to advocate for its repeal.

Their paper builds off of Voyles’ previous experience as a scholar of Russian language.

Read the full article.