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Hedwig Fijen, Manifesta 
We ask that Manifesta 2014 reconsider St Petersburg as their next location. 

"antigay sentiment has been spreading in Russia’s conservative society, encouraged by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church. But Mr. Putin and his government have taken that to a new level by legitimizing the hatemongering in legislation. 

Earlier this month, he signed a law banning the adoption of Russian-born children to gay couples and to any couple or single parent living in any country where marriage equality exists. Last month, Mr. Putin signed a law allowing the police to arrest tourists and foreigners suspected of being gay or pro-gay and detain them for up to 14 days. He also signed a bill classifying “homosexual” propaganda as pornography with vague wording that could subject anyone arguing for tolerance or educating children about homosexuality to arrest and fines. 

There is no defense for such actions, which occur against a backdrop of growing violence against gays and could be seen as a license for even more violence. Russia is in danger of moving from pursuing the rule of law to the rule of hate. The new laws contravene Russian commitments to human rights and fundamental freedoms under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.” New York Times. 

It is important that we send a message to the Russian government that such draconian measures will not be tolerated. In particular, the art world community must act now and request that Manifesta is either awarded to a different city, postponed until human rights are restored, or cancelled as a sign of support for the LBGT community. 

We would remind Manifesta “The concept of Manifesta‘s artistic autonomy is clearly acknowledged by the State Hermitage Museum and the City of St. Petersburg. In an artistic project of such high complexity such as Manifesta 10 -­‐ which touches upon different fields of interest and contexts of contemporary life such as urbanity, social discourse, activism and artistic practices -­‐ the ability to find moral, practical and sustainable solutions for unforeseen challenges is of the greatest importance. Manifesta attempts to master this process up to its highest standards.”
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