Statement BNYC “RADA” in connection with the proposal to “ban LGBT propaganda”
We, the union of thirty five democratic youth organizations and initiatives of Belarus, were created to consolidate Belarusian youth organizations and civil society initiatives to represent, promote, and protect common interests, realizing the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and other constitutional rights, represented by the governing body – the Board of “RADA” we make the following statement.
On April 18, 2023, deputies of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus proposed adding a “prohibition of LGBT propaganda” to the law on mass media. We are deeply concerned that the proposed ban could lead to discrimination, stigmatization, and violence against the LGBTQI+ community in Belarus. We believe that any attempt to limit LGBTQI+ people’s visibility violates their human rights and should be condemned.
In our opinion, the proposed ban on LGBTQI+ propaganda in Belarus is part of the trend of discrimination and oppression of the LGBTQI+ community in the country. Over the past few years, the Belarusian government has taken several steps to restrict the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQI+ community, including banning public demonstrations and events related to LGBTQI+ rights.
Pressure on the LGBTQI+ community in Belarus significantly impacts young people, especially those who identify as LGBTQI+. These pressures create an atmosphere of fear and intolerance that leads to discrimination, harassment, and violence against the LGBTQI+ community. Young people who identify as LGBTQI+ face social stigma and discrimination from their families, peers, communities, and the state itself at the official level.
This situation also affects the mental health and well-being of LGBTQI+ youth in Belarus. They often face a lack of support, resources, and access to health services, leading to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
We believe that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have the right to live free from discrimination, harassment, and violence. The youth of Belarus should have the right to free self-expression, including their gender identity and sexual orientation, without fear of persecution or discrimination.
In this regard, we:
- Emphasize the importance of promoting tolerance, diversity, and acceptance in Belarusian society and creating a safe and inclusive environment for all.
- Call upon the international community, including the European Union and the United Nations, to oppose the proposed ban and put pressure on the Belarusian government to respect human rights.
- Call upon the European Union to continue its efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Belarus by providing financial and technical assistance to civil society and independent media.