April 14, 2011
Moscow Pride ban overturned
The European Court of Human Rights has rejected an appeal by the Russian government that sought to uphold a ban on Pride marches. Moscow Gay Pride will go ahead on 28th May.
This is the first time that a case has been won against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights on an LGBT issue. A panel of five judges agreed unanimously that the Russian government’s stance was discriminatory and in violation of four separate articles of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The ruling will impact widely upon Russia’s hardline attitude towards public demonstrations. The judges argued that Russian law in this instance fails to conform to the European Convention.
“We are extremely satisfied with the timeline as the decision came into force right on time before the date of the sixth planned Gay Pride in Moscow next month,” said Nikolai Alekseev, an organiser for Moscow Gay Pride.
“This is setting a very symbolical precedent in Russia as this decision is not only on the issue of gay rights but it is about the basic right of freedom of assembly of anyone. Russian authorities and Russian Courts have as of today, no legal ground to ban any gay rights marches and rallies in Russia.”
Moscow Gay Pride has a difficult history. The event has been banned on multiple occasions by city authorities. Demonstrations in 2006, 2007 and 2008 were marred by homophobic violence, with no protection offered by the police. In 2009 a protest was planned to coincide with the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, leading to international coverage.
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