MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) – The foreign minister of the Netherlands says his country will offer asylum to Russians claiming discrimination under a recently introduced anti-gay propaganda law, Dutch media has reported.
The Dutch News website reported Tuesday that Frans Timmermans said in a written briefing to parliament that a law passed earlier this year in Russia contributed to a homophobic climate and had an intimidating impact on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people.
"Inhuman treatment must be taken as a serious violation of human rights and must be considered in asylum cases. This can include anti-gay laws but also discrimination by Russian authorities and nationals," Timmermans was quoted as having written.
Timmermans’ assertions were disputed by some Russian lawmakers, who said there was unlikely to be an exodus of Russians seeking asylum in the Netherlands.
“This announcement is more than strange. But the minister and the government of the Netherlands can do what they like on their territory,” said Elena Mizulina, the head of the State Duma’s committee for Families, Women and Children.
The minister’s remarks were another attempt to “somehow insectify Russia,” Mizulina said, using an unusual term to imply that Timmermans was seeking to humiliate or demean Russia.
A staunch social conservative, Mizulina was one of the architects of the law signed earlier this year by President Vladimir Putin that bans the promotion of non-traditional sexual orientations among minors.
The Kremlin maintains the legislation is aimed solely at protecting children and does not discriminate against homosexuals or prevent adults from making their own sexual choices. Critics charge that the law has fueled a wider crackdown on homosexuality in Russian society.
Updated with comments by State Duma deputy.