AFTER Ryazan in 2006 and Arkhangelsk, this autumn the regional parliament of St Petersburg passed a law banning “propaganda of homosexuality, transsexuality and paedophilia” at the Bill’s first reading in mid-November.
This was the first step towards St Petersburg entering the Hall of Shame of the Russian regions which limit a fundamental human right of an individual, the right to freedom of expression.
Introduced by Vladimir Putin’s “United Russia” Party, the Bill had already passed the Parliament’s Legislative Committee, and there is now little chance that anything can stop it. Of course, this bullet against LGBT people is motivated by electoral consideration and must be appreciated in the context of next December’s Parliamentary elections in the country.
IT’S a challenge keeping up with Leo Igwe, who was, until recently the International Humanist and Ethical Union’s (IHEU) Representative for Western and Southern Africa.
This one-man human rights dynamo has championed causes that few would dare touch, and in doing so has earned the admiration of thousands around the world, and the hatred of many others who regard his efforts – including his championing of gay rights – as unacceptable meddling in religion and politics.
Igwe, who recently left IHEU in order to research African witchcraft at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, last month returned from a two-day conference on a problem endemic in Nigeria and other parts of Africa: the branding of children as witches, something which is also occurring in the UK.