A spokesman on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora from Sinn Féin has criticised the Russian Government for introducing anti-gay legislation, including a law banning homosexual “propaganda”.

One recently passed law bans the “promotion” of “non-traditional sexual relations”, and another banned the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples.

Deputy Seán Crowe, signed a letter on behalf of Sinn Féin voicing concern about the law.

I, along with other concerned Irish citizens and politicians, have signed an open letter strongly urging the Russian authorities to end its persecution of LGBT people.

It also calls on the authorities to focus on upholding the right of LGBT citizens, and their supporters, to freedom of expression, assembly, and protection from homophobic violence.

The letter will be delivered and handed over to the Russia Embassy in Dublin this evening.

The Russian government has tried to justify this draconian legislation by stating that it will protect minors. This is completely misguided and based on the incorrect premise that someone’s sexuality can be taught.

This legislation is extremely broad and effectively prohibits the distribution of any information which deals with LGBT rights in a positive or even neutral light.

It is a clear breach of a person’s right to freely express their sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as the freedom to seek, receive and impart information on issues related to sexual orientation or gender identity.

This new law is incompatible with rulings made by the European Court of Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee and international human rights standards.

I am calling on the Russian authorities to review this oppressive legislation and to uphold the human rights of all their citizens and especially those of vulnerable or minority groups, like LGBT citizens.

The upper house of the Russian Parliament voted last month to approve both a bill banning adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples and the nationwide anti-”propaganda” bill banning the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors.

Earlier in June the Duma, or lower parliamentary house, unanimously voted 443-0 to approve a draft law to ban adoption of Russian orphans by foreign same-sex couples, as well as related amendments to Russian family law.

The bills, which have since been signed by President Vladimir Putin, bans foreign same-sex couples and unmarried individuals in countries where same-sex marriage is legal from adopting Russian children.

Other protesters have been detained since the laws were passed, as two weeks ago four demonstrators were held in similar circumstances, also in Russia.