Europe court rules Moldova gay protest ban violated rights

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled Tuesday that Moldova violated the rights to peaceful assembly and to be free from discrimination by banning gay groups from protesting in front of the country's parliament. In 2005, Genderdoc-M [advocacy website] applied for a peaceful protest outside the parliament to encourage the government to adopt laws that would protect gay rights. However, the application was denied by both the Chisinau Municipal Council and the Mayor's office. The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal as well as the Supreme Court of Justice. Moldova initially argued that because the majority of the country's population did not approve same-sex relationships, the rejection of the protest application did not violate the right to peaceful assembly. It later changed its argument by asserting that the right to peaceful assembly was violated but other rights were not. The ECHR rejected both arguments and noted that if the ban was based solely on the sexual orientation, such practice would be in direct violation of the European Convention on Human Rights [official website]. The International Commission of Jurists and gay rights organization ILGA-Europe [advocacy websites] welcomed [joint press release] the court's decision and expressed their enthusiasm for the development of better human rights protection for gays in the future.

Moldova had been urged to adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination laws. In early May, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) urged [JURIST report] the Moldovan government to adopt laws that would protect the human rights of religious minorities, the Roma population and LGBT rights in the nation. A similar call [JURIST report] was made few weeks after by the UN Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice that called the country to enact laws to ensure equal treatment of men and women.

 

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