Belarusian human rights activists sent appeals to the Red Cross organizations in connection with the statements made by the Secretary General of the Belarusian Red Cross Society (BORC) Dzmitry Shautsou. Doctor Shautsou called homosexuality a “mental illness” that “needs to be treated” on one of the state-owned TV channels.
The Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Belarusian Medical Solidarity Foundation called on the Red Cross to publicly condemn Shautsou’s statements and point out their unacceptability. Dzmitry Shautsou, the Secretary General of the Belarusian Red Cross Society, expressed his views on gender identity and sexual orientation live on the STV channel on October 18, 2022. In particular, he stated that “non-traditional relationships between the sexes” are a “mental illness” that “needs to be treated”. He also spoke of the alleged promotion of homosexuality aimed at “destroying entire civilizations, countries, and societies”.
Such behavior goes against the principles of the Red Cross: humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence, the statement reads. Human rights activists also note that Shautsou’s words are a vivid example of the systemic discriminatory rhetoric of the Belarusian state against vulnerable groups and LGBTQ+ people. The World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the list of diseases back in 1990.