European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Europe enters new Prides season with ban and court victory

On 11 April 2007, the municipal authorities of the Moldovan capital of Chisinau banned public event planned by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community for 27 April as part of the 6th Moldovan LGBT Pride festival.

This is the third time the Chisinau city bans LGBT event. The decision comes despite the ruling of the Moldovan Supreme Court last December that previous ban on LGBT Pride march was illegal.

On a more positive note - on 12 April 2007 the Regional Administrative Court in the Latvian capital of Riga ruled that a ban of LGBT Pride march in Riga last summer was illegal. Last July LGBT Pride march in Riga was banned by the city authorities and the organisers of the march lost their first instance court challenge of the ban. The court decision upholding the ban was now successfully appealed at the Regional Administrative Court.

ILGA-Europe welcomes the latest court decision in Latvia which provides a glimpse of hope that this year LGBT pride march in Riga will be allowed and will take places with appropriate protection by the police.

At the same time ILGA-Europe is seriously concerned with the decision of the Chisinau city authorities which, despite the country’s Supreme Court decision, act illegally violate the rights of LGBT community to peaceful assembly. This disregards constitutional dispositions and international human rights standards ratified by Moldova.

Christine Loudes, Policy Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“Two very different developments in Latvia and Moldova yet another time prove how far LGBT community in Europe is from full enjoyment of the fundamental rights provided by the European and national legislation.

While we welcome promising development of the Latvian case-law and hope this will provide further and stronger signal to the Latvian authorities and society that the LGBT community is entitled to the same rights as any other members of the public, we are gravely concerned with the situation in Moldova. Not only the Chisinau city authorities openly disregard the rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, but they act illegally in breach of the decision of the supreme judicial body of their own country.

Outrageous violations of the rights to freedom of assembly and expression for LGBT people in Europe captured the attention of virtually all European organisations and their institutions, media and ordinary citizens across the continent during the last couple of years. We are now entering yet another Pride events season and call on all municipal authorities in Europe to abandon once and for all practices of banning and/or limiting LGBT people’s right to freedom of assembly and expression which contravene human rights standards.

We would like to remind the mayors of the recently resolution by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe which specifically deals with the freedom of assembly and expression for LGBT people and provides detailed suggestions on what and how the local authorities should do to ensure these freedoms are fully enjoyed by the LGBT citizens.

We are also calling on all European institutions to continue being vigilant and use all their powers to influence those municipal authorities which contemplate banning or limiting LGBT events.“

Strong condemnation has also been expressed by Maria Carlshamre (ALDE/Sweden), Member of the European Parliament, who said: ”I strongly condemn this blatant violation of basic human rights to assembly. With decisions like this Moldovan authorities are taking further steps away form the rest of Europe.”She also said that she will take part in this year’s Riga and Chisinau Prides.

Ends

For more information please contact
Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375

Notes for editors:

(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Europe.