GENDERDOC-M Receives 2012 UN Human Rights Award in Moldova
GENDERDOC-M Information Centre received its first Human Rights Award from the United Nations Moldova Country Office on December 10th, annually observed as the Human Rights Day. In their award justification motion, organisers stated that Moldova’s only LGBT rights organisation was awarded for its work on combating discrimination through litigation, advocacy and awareness-raising activities, which especially showcased in 2012.
“During 2012, the organisation strengthened its profile in undertaking strategic litigation challenging various types of discrimination in Moldova, including cases concerning violent attack motivated by hatred of LGBT persons and groups; incitement to hatred and violence; denial of freedoms of assembly and expression; the rights of transgender people to have their documents changed in line with their gender identity; discrimination in child custody cases; as well as in other cases. This work became particularly important during 2012 in the context of a major, high-profile mobilization against LGBT persons and groups, involving inter alia a number of legal bans at local level. GENDERDOC-M’s long-term persistent defense of the rights of LGBT persons and groups also bore fruit in 2012 in a victory at the European Court of Human Rights over the banning of the 2005 Chisinau Pride event, a landmark victory”, says the Memorandum of UN Human Rights Awards 2012.
GENDERDOC-M is pleased that its work has been recognised on such a high level and would like to express deep gratitude to all of its national and international partners and supporters. Among the total seven recipients of the Human Rights Awards 2012 that included individuals, non-governmental organisations and mass media outlets was Artiom Zavadovschi, Lobby and Advocacy Program Assistant at GENDERDOC-M. Being one of a few openly gay persons in the country, Artiom was recognised for his outstanding bravery in articulating and defending human rights of LGBT people in the Republic of Moldova during 2012. As the organisers put it, “Risking his own safety, he participated – sometimes alone – in a series of public events defending the rights of this highly stigmatized group in Moldova.”
The UN Human Rights Awards ceremony was broadcast live by the national television “Moldova 1”. It saw the Speaker of Moldovan Parliament, Mr. Marian Lupu, open the ceremony and address the audience on behalf of the country’s leadership, who dwelled on the importance of respecting human rights of all citizens. Using the provided opportunity, in his thank-you note, Artiom Zavadovschi reminded Mr. Marian Lupu, present in the auditorium, of his rampant homophobic hate speech expressed in a TV interview prior to the adoption of the anti-discrimination law. In May 2012, the Speaker of Moldovan Parliament said that gay people were ‘people but not like him’ and overtly contested their fundamental rights and freedoms such as the right to freedom of assembly, the right to family life, etc.
All winners were selected based on a process of public consultation and evaluated by human rights experts in the country. The criteria used in the assessment process included creativity, perseverance, commitment and courage shown in promoting human rights with high impact on people’s lives.
The UN Human Rights Gala of Awards is organised by the United Nations in Moldova annually on the Human Rights Day. The 2012 edition was supported by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Detailed explanations of all of the awards are presented in the Memorandum: http://www.un.md/news_room/pr/2012/HumanRightsGala_10December/Memorandum%20UN%20Human%20Rights%20Awards%202012.pdf