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UN panel on children's rights urges Russia to repeal law banning gay 'propaganda' among minors

A U.N. committee on children's rights is urging Russia to repeal its law banning pro-gay "propaganda" that could be accessible to minors.

The panel noted in a report Wednesday that the stated intent of the law is to protect children but said it "encourages stigmatization of and discrimination against" gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, including children.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child said it is concerned that "vague definitions of propaganda leads to the targeting and ongoing persecution" of Russia's gay community, including abuse and violence.

The law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last July, is viewed by activists as forbidding almost any public expression of gay-rights sentiment. The law is in the spotlight as Russia hosts the Winter Olympics, starting this week.