Russia's anti-gay laws
Protesters take part in a demonstration against Russia's 'anti-gay' laws.Reuters

US-based Human Rights Watch on Monday slammed Vladmir Putin's government in Russia for its inaction against hate crimes and homophobia.

The organisation said that the Russian leadership has remained silent in the face of violence and anti-gay rhetoric and even accused many officials of hate speech.

The group that works towards defending the rights of human beings worldwide noticed that "all over Russia there has been an increase in attacks by vigilante groups and individuals against (LGBT) in the past two years".

The report released by the watchdog in Moscow on Monday was based on 94 interviews with lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs) and activists from 16 cities and towns in Russia.

According to the study, LGBTs have always faced stigma, harassment, and violence in their everyday lives, and since 2013, this has intensified.

A transgender woman, referred to in the report as "Risa R," is quoted as saying she was abducted and brutally assaulted in St. Petersburg in 2013. "They kept calling me a "faggot" and telling me how much they hated gays. I told them repeatedly that I wasn't gay, that I was a transgender woman, but they did not want to listen," she says.

The June 2013 law banning the distribution of information about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender relationships to children had led to increasing homophobic attacks, said HRW.

The rules ban people from providing information about homosexuality to people under the age of 18 years.

A politician Vitaly Milonov, who authored the first version of the law, had revealed to BBC that he thought that people found homosexual acts "uncomfortable".

The law breaches Russia's obligations under domestic law and several key international human rights treaties to protect all people, including LGBT people of all ages, from violence and discrimination.

The report, which includes responses regarding the accusation from the Russian Prosecutor General's Office and Russian Interior Ministry, also revealed that neither agency collected any statistical data about attacks specifically committed against LGBT people.

This report stands in stark contrast to President Vladmir Putin's statement when he met the members of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights and federal and regional human rights commissioners on 5 December.

He had then promised "all people here have political rights, social rights, rights to employment, and no one should face discrimination".

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