The Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans, has said Russians discriminated against under a law banning gay “propaganda”, may apply for asylum in his country.

The law, signed in by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year, bans the promotion of homosexual “propaganda” to minors. LGBT campaigners have noted a rise in homophobic incidents since the passing of the law.

In a written briefing to parliament, Timmermans said: “This law contributes to a homophobic climate and has an intimidating effect on LGBT people and sympathisers.”

He continued: “Inhuman treatment must be taken as a serious violation of human rights and must be considered in asylum cases. This can include anti-gay laws but also discrimination by Russian authorities and nationals.”

In a meeting in February between Timmermans and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the latter defended the legislation, prior to it being adopted federally. It had previously existed in several cities, the biggest of which was St Petersburg.

The Dutch foreign minister last year criticised now retired Pope Benedict XVI for his opposition to equal marriage and warned the Catholic leader that everyone ”is unique”.