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September 04, 2013

President Reaffirms U.S. Support for Equality During Stockholm Visit

St. Petersburg, Russia – Human Rights First today praised President Obama for reiterating the United States’ commitment to equality, including the advancement of LGBT rights, during his joint press conference in Stockholm with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

“Today President Obama reaffirmed America’s commitment to advancing equality and LGBT rights across the globe,” said Human Rights First’s Innokenty Grekov. “As the President travels to St. Petersburg for tomorrow’s G-20 summit and spends a portion of his time in Russia meeting with activists, he should make clear that the United States opposes Russia’s ongoing crackdown against civil society, including its recent laws that target the LGBT community.”

Last week, Human Rights First issued its report Convenient Targets: The Anti-”Propaganda” Law & the Threat to LGBT Rights in Russia that recommended President Obama spend time during his trip to St. Petersburg hearing directly from activists about what forms of U.S. support would be helpful in response to Russia’s backslide on human rights. Russia has been widely criticized for its anti-“propaganda” law that bans the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.” The law is part of a broader crackdown on “positive liberties” and dissent stemming from the massive anti-government protests of December 2011.

Grekov, author of Convenient Targets: The Anti-”Propaganda” Law & the Threat to LGBT Rights in Russia, is in St. Petersburg this week and is available to comment on the president’s trip and planned civil society meeting. To speak with him or for more information, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at bowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3323.