Human rights activists want to draw Interior Minister to responsibility for homophobia

The Human Rights Center Viasna and lawyer Valyantsin Stefanovich, sent letters to the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigation Committee asking to look into the potential discrimination in the TV statements of Internal Affairs Minister Ihar Shunevich, site reports.

In an interview with the ONT TV channel Shunevich called members of sexual minorities “full of holes.” “There is a certain category of citizens, excuse me for maybe a certain slang, but this is my term, my definition. I call them people full of holes. Some of them have made holes in the places that are not provided by nature, some of these holes are misused, some are a real hole, in education, in upbringing, in intellect, in culture. Some compile it all. They have one task, and they have one goal — to once again show off in the media, on the Internet, collect a certain amount of admiration, likes, and, of course, receive grants from their foreign curators, and to satisfy their painful ego,” Ihar Shunevich said.

Human rights activists note that the Belarusian society has a high enough level of homophobia, which sometimes even leads to crimes against the life and health of citizens on the grounds of hatred, precisely on the basis of their sexual orientation. Instead of confronting such negative manifestations, Minister Shunevich allows himself to use the slang characteristic of carriers of a criminal subculture or carriers of neo-Nazi views.

“I believe that these statements are extremely offensive in nature, promote hatred and discrimination against citizens of the country on the basis of their sexual orientation in the Belarusian society, contribute to their further stigmatization,” said Valyantsin Stefanovich in a statement to the Chairman of the Investigative Committee.

Human rights activists believe that Shunevich’s statements are nothing less than incitement to discrimination, hostility to citizens of a country on a discriminatory basis like sexual orientation.

Thus, I believe that the actions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs head may contain a corpus delicti under Article 130 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (incitement to racial, national, religious or other social hostility or enmity),” writes Mr Stefanovich and in accordance with Article 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code he asks the IC to verify the facts indicated in the letter and, according to its results, to bring Ihar Shunevich to trial.

Human rights defenders are also asking the respective bodies to conduct a prosecutorial check of these incidents and give them a proper legal assessment., based on information from

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