European Court of Human Rights: Russia Violates the European Convention on Human Rights by Banning Moscow Prides

IGLHRC believes that a vital part of our mission is supporting the work of activist organizations and allies by disseminating important information on human rights issues affecting LGBT communities worldwide. To this end we are posting this article from ILGA-Europe.

For Immediate Release

Today, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its decision in a case of Nikolai Alexeyev v. Russia and said that Russia has breached the European Convention on Human Rights by banning 2006, 2007 and 2008 Moscow Prides.

ILGA-Europe welcomes this important decision for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) communities in Russia and congratulates the organisers of Moscow Pride with this significant legal victory.

The Court stressed that “the mere risk of a demonstration creating a disturbance was not sufficient to justify its ban. If every probability of tension and heated exchanges between opposing groups during a demonstration resulted in a demonstration’s prohibition, society would be deprived of hearing differing views on questions which offended the sensitivity of the majority opinion, and that ran contrary to the Convention principles.”

Today’s decision by the European Court of Human Rights is a confirmation of its case-law established on 3 May 2007 in a case of Bączkowski and Others v. Poland. In that case the Polish LGBTI activists successfully challenged the ban of 2005 Warsaw LGBTI Pride event. The Court stated that freedom of assembly, guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights, belongs to all, and Poland, by banning LGBTI Pride event, breached the European Convention on Human Rights and acted discriminatory on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Maxim Anmeghichean, ILGA-Europe’s Programmes Director, who was present in Moscow in 2006 and 2007 during the first attempts to organise Moscow Pride, said:

“We congratulate Russian LGBTI activists with this important legal victory. We believe they are now equipped with a very solid legal tool to fully exercise their constitutional right to organise public events and express their opinions.

Moreover, today’s decision reinforces the duty of the Russian state to provide full and adequate protection to LGBTI public events from any attempts to disturb them or from those who violently oppose these events.”

For more information please contact:

Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375

ILGA-Europe is the European Region of ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans & intersex people in Europe: www.ilga-europe.org

Read the ECHR press release »