The Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Minister for Human Rights, Kerry McCarthy, has told PinkNews that the UK Government needs to use next month’s G20 meeting in St Petersburg to raise the issue of gay rights with Russia.
Speaking to PinKNews.co.uk, the Labour MP, who represents Bristol East, said: “Recent developments in Russia with regard to respect for human rights, and equal rights for gay people, are deeply worrying. When many countries are making real progress towards equality – on issues such as same-sex marriage – it is alarming that Russia seems to be moving in the opposite direction.
“I welcome the fact that many people here in the UK want to make their voice heard on the issue, showing solidarity with the LGBT community and human rights campaigners in Russia, especially ahead of the crucial international sporting events that Russia has the privilege of hosting.
“The UK Government should be using the opportunity of the G20 meeting in St Petersburg next month to raise this issue with President Putin and make clear the UK’s opposition to the latest examples of repression and discrimination.”
Yesterday, one of Ms McCarthy’s colleagues, Labour MP and Shadow Immigration Minister Chris Bryant, tweeted: “It’s time Cameron got tough with Putin over state-sponsored homophobic violence and repression in Russia.”
Mr Bryant also said he supported a boycott of Russian vodka by gay bars in the UK.
In an open letter to the PM, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Lord Coe, Fry said Russia was “making scapegoats of gay people”.
In response, the government said it was working closely with organisers to ensure the Games were free from discrimination.
A government spokeswoman said Mr Cameron outlined concerns about the growing restrictions on LGBT freedoms in Russia to President Putin at a meeting in Downing Street in June.
“We are working closely with the IOC and the BOA (British Olympic Association) to ensure that the Games take place in the spirit of the Olympic Charter and are free from discrimination,” she added.
A UK Government source also said that they anticipated the issue of homophobic oppression in Russia would be raised at the G20 Heads of Government meeting, which is taking place in St Petersburg next month.