• Sweden edition
 
Swede of the Week
Russia needs a total gay rights U-turn: minister

Russia needs a total gay rights U-turn: minister

Published: 01 Aug 2013 11:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Aug 2013 11:23 GMT+02:00

Birgitta Ohlsson, one of Sweden's staunchest advocates of equal rights and The Local's Swede of the Week, has had a busy week. The vibrant colours of Stockholm's Pride Week have been sullied by news of Russia's anti-gay laws, which among other things ban "propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations."

Ohlsson has been working to ensure Sweden leads the international fight against the laws – something that resulted in her being pelted with eggs during a speech at a Pride event in Lithuania on Saturday.

SEE ALSO: Topless activists demonstrate outside Russian Embassy

"When it comes to countries like Russia I think it's so important to have a united front towards the negative messages that are coming from them, and Sweden is one of the key players in this dialogue," she told The Local.

She added that she was pushing the European Union's foreign affairs spokeswoman Catherine Ashton into sharing a "very solid and firm position" on condemning the politics in Russia.

SEE ALSO: A list of The Local's past Swedes of the Week

"Of course, we have the horrifying anti-gay law – that is repulsive and disgusting, going in the total wrong direction. But then we have other laws that are also very severe for the Russian open civil society and that has to do with laws concerning freedom of expression, freedom of assembly," she said.

"Other countries are not holding to the position as they should when it comes to human rights and the rule of law."

Russia, she claimed, needs to perform a complete U-turn:

"[Russia is] not respecting LGBT human rights. What is key now is to have a dedicated support to LGBT supporters and other human rights activists in the area – and Sweden is definitely one of the key players in the EU [in this regard]," Ohlsson said.

But the minister's dedication and presence at pride events is not always welcome, however, with protesters in Vilnius hurling eggs at Ohlsson on Saturday when she spoke at the second ever pride event to be held in Lithuania, a largely Catholic country.

"That was an interesting experience... but we have to keep up the pressure. When it comes to the Lithuania, they are in the EU, so we can have an even more solid approach with them," she told The Local.

"When you're a member of the EU, you have to follow the ideals that we share."

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

Editor's Note: The Local's Swede of the Week is someone in the news who - for good or ill - has revealed something interesting about the country. Being selected as Swede of the Week is not necessarily an endorsement.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
National
Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche
The Andes in Chile. Photo: Shutterstock

Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche

UPDATED: The bodies of two of the world's top skiers, Sweden's Andreas Fransson and JP Auclair from Canada, were found on Tuesday after they were reported missing in an avalanche in the Andes. READ  

Politics
New coalition plans to boost benefits
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

New coalition plans to boost benefits

The Social Democrats and the Greens have agreed to raise unemployment and sick-leave payments, according to reports in the Swedish media. READ  

National
IKEA recalls elk pasta
IKEA stores in Sweden are affected by the recall. Photo. TT

IKEA recalls elk pasta

IKEA has pulled two different types of pasta from its stores. READ  

Presented by Regus
Mobile workspace made easy with Regus
A woman using a Regus workspace. Photo: Regus

Mobile workspace made easy with Regus

With startups on the increase across Sweden, many small businesses are turning to more flexible office spaces designed to suit the needs of the modern entrepreneur. The Local opens the door global workplace provider Regus. READ  

Brand stories
JohannaN: beautiful jewellery with a story

JohannaN: beautiful jewellery with a story

Just 27 and already living off of her own designs, some may consider Johanna Nilsson lucky. But she doesn't believe in luck. She's the founder of a jewellery line blending sustainability, subtle style, and Scandinavian simplicity - and it's taking the world by storm. READ  

National
King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament
King Carl XVI Gustaf arriving on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: TT

King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament

BREAKING: Sweden's post-election parliament is meeting for the first time following a fanfare opening from King Carl XVI Gustaf. READ  

Opinion
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
A high school in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Should Sweden's school age be raised?

After the new coalition announced plans to extend Sweden's compulsory schooling until the age of 18, The Local asked two Swedes at high school if they agreed with the idea. READ  

International
Sweden slammed for ecological footprint
Sweden should increase its renewable energy according to WWF. Photo:TT

Sweden slammed for ecological footprint

Sweden is among the world's top ten polluters according to one of the largest scientific studies looking at the impact of humans on earth, produced by the WWF. READ  

Society
Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake
Ing-Marie Olofsson whose necklace was found. Photo: Private

Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake

A 66-year-old Swedish woman got the surprise of her life when a fisherman returned the necklace she dropped in a lake at the age of 14. READ  

International
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Malin Sahlén during a Top Model shoot. Photo: TV3/Nina Holma

Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos

A British newspaper has apologised after a freelance journalist stole a Sweden's Next Top Model contestant's photo and created a fake Twitter account used to trick a UK minister. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Politics
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
Sponsored Article
Stay productive on the move: Try a Regus workspace for free
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

850
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN