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UN Panel Calls For Annulment Of Russian Gay 'Propaganda' Law

LGBT rights activists risk arrest by rallying in St. Petersburg. (file photo)
A United Nations panel has called for the annulment of Russian laws banning the spreading of homosexual "propaganda" to minors, saying it encourages discrimination and possibly violence.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child noted that the legislation is ostensibly aimed at protecting children, but said it could also lead to "stigmatization" and "discrimination" against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, including children.

The Associated Press news agency quotes the panel as saying it was particularly concerned that the legislation's "vague" definition of what may be considered "propaganda" could lead to the persecution or abuse of innocent people.

The measures, which became law last year, have been widely condemned by rights activists as discriminatory.

Russia has faced extra scrutiny over the legislation as it prepares to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi this week.

Based on reporting by AP