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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 13 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 50
Russian threats to LGBT Network keep Igor Kochetkov from Human Rights First Summit
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Russian threats to LGBT Network keep Igor Kochetkov from Human Rights First Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Igor Kochetkov, Chairman of the Russian LGBT Network, today issued a statement making clear that threats against the Russian LGBT Network are preventing him from foreign travel. The revelation came today in a statement issued by Kochetkov after he was unexpectedly unable to participate in Human Rights First's second annual Human Rights Summit taking place earlier this week in Washington, D.C. Kochetkov was scheduled to participate as a panelist for several sessions during the summit, including one that would address Russia's LGBT crackdown ahead of the Sochi Olympics. 'Igor's absence from our summit only reinforces the urgency of addressing the deteriorating human rights situation human rights defenders in Russia are facing,' said Shawn Gaylord of Human Rights First. 'When these defenders' voices are silenced by governments seeking to limit human rights, our organization and others have a responsibility to amplify their message and work to protect their rights at home and abroad.'?The following is the full text of Kochetkov's statement with slight grammatical edits:



'I am very sorry that I can not be with you. The current situation around LGBT organizations is seriously complicated, with attacks on activists and ordinary members of the LGBT community. We regularly receive threats to our address by right-wing extremists (including threats of bombing offices and venues). State television spreads false information about the anti-Russian character of our work. Just a few days ago, we received information about planned provocations on the part of right-wing radicals against the organization (the Russian LGBT Network). We have to take these threats very seriously, so I had to stay in Russia for an urgent response to possible incident.

'Unfortunately, right-wing groups working against us are supported by individual officials. The Russian state is not responding properly to crimes motivated by ethnic hatred and homophobia. Criminal proceedings in such crimes are either not executed, or are investigated without the hate motive. The State today is not our ally in the protection of human rights, but rather is looking for any excuses (real or fictitious) for complications or termination of the activities of human rights organizations.?In the near future, we will make a more detailed statement on these issues. Once again I express regret my inability to participate in the Summit, and I wish you every success.'

A Human Rights First news release. www.humanrightsfirst.org

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