GENDERDOC-M on Law on Article 901 “Public activities with negative impact on minors”
GENDERDOC-M Information Centre would like to draw your attention to the fact that on 23 May 2013, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova adopted the Law Nr. 117 on Completing the Contravention Code amending it with Article 901 “Public activities with negative impact on minors”, which was signed into law by the President on 5 July and entered in force on 12 July 2013. According to Paragraph 2, the Article 901 imposes a monetary fine from 100 (2000 lei) to 120 (2400 lei) conventional units on an individual, a fine from 200 (4000 lei) to 300 (6000 lei) conventional units on an official and a fine from 300 (6000 lei) to 400 (8000 lei) conventional units on a legal person with or without deprivation, in all cases, of the right to exercise a particular activity for the term from three months to one year “for distribution of public information with/without commission of acts aimed at the propagation of prostitution, pedophilia, pornography or of any other relations than those related to marriage or family in accordance with the Constitution and the Family Code”.
Having lacked decisional transparency and having not been subjected to the public debate, the law was adopted upon suggestion of MPs Sergiu Sîrbu, Ghenadie Ciobanu (Liberal Democratic Party) and Valeriu Ghileţchi (Liberal Democratic Party). If applied, Article 901 may seriously violate the rights to freedoms of expression and assembly of anyone who publicly equates same-sex relations and families with heterosexual ones. Moreover, this provision of the Contravention Code infringes constitutional principles of non-discrimination and is in breach with the international instruments the Republic of Moldovan is part of. For instance, if GENDERDOC-M Information Centre or any other human rights organisation advocating for LGBT equality in Moldova is charged under the Article 901, it can be not only subjected to the aforementioned monetary fine, but its overall activity can be suspended for the period from three months to one year.
GENDERDOC-M Information Centre would also like to draw your particular attention to the fact that the last part of Article 901 of the Contravention Code of the Republic of Moldova contradicts the Venice Commission’s Opinion on the Issue of the Prohibition of So-Called “Propaganda of Homosexuality” in the Light of Recent Legislation in Some Member States of the Council of Europe and the Recommendation 2021(2013) of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe on Tackling Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity adopted on 27 June 2013.
We find adoption, signing into law and entrance in force of this legal provision, which threatens freedoms of expression and assembly for LGBT rights defenders, appalling. We also believe it has been deliberately promoted by particular MPs sharing conservative and anti-equality agenda to restrict activity of human rights organisations, and namely that of the GENDERDOC-M Information Centre. The non-transparent and obscure way the Article 901 was adopted by justifies our suspicion.
GENDERDOC-M Information Centre calls on all international structures, diplomatic missions, national and international non-governmental organisations to assist us in repealing the part of Article 901 which provides penalization for the so-called “propagation of any other relations than those related to marriage and family in accordance with the Constitution and the Family Code”.