Russia slams EU's 'promotion of sexual minorities'

BRUSSELS (AFP) - An official Russian human rights report released Thursday lashed out at European Union nations for their "aggressive promotion" of the rights of sexual minorities.

The 150-page report on the state of human rights across the EU criticised the rise of xenophobia, racism, violent nationalism and chauvinism - notably in eastern nations with Russian minorities - as well as anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism.

But it also claimed that EU nations, while championing human rights worldwide, saw as "one of their priorities, the dissemination of their neo-liberal values as a universal lifestyle" for the globe.

"This is particularly evident in their aggressive promotion of the sexual minorities' rights.

"Attempts have been made to enforce on other countries an alien view of homosexuality and same-sex marriages as a norm of life and some kind of a natural social phenomenon that deserves support at the state level." Noting the protests in France last year over the legalisation of same-sex marriage, the report said this approach had met resistance not only in nations with traditional values "but also in those countries which have always taken a liberal attitude towards queers." The report from the Russian foreign ministry was released ahead of a summit in Brussels on January 28 between the EU's top officials and President Vladimir Putin.

Russia itself has faced strong international criticism for adopting anti-gay legislation last year which punishes the "propaganda" of homosexuality to minors with fines or even imprisonment.