Gay Activists Protest Inaction of European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg Demo



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■  Outside the European Court.  Left to right: Sergey Androsenko (GayBelarus), Nikolai Alekseev (GayRussia), Nikolai Baev (GayRussia), Cornelia Schneider (Tapages, STS), Yury Gavrikov (GayRussia)

STRASBOURG, February 14  –  A group of fifty activists from France and eastern Europe has called on the European ‘institutions’ to force the authorities in Russia and Belarus to respect their commitment to the European Convention of Human Rights and let LGBT people enjoy the rights that others have.

The call came during a demonstration in Strasbourg outside the Council of Europe, the institution that oversees the Europe-wide human rights convention.

Belarus has applied to join the Council of Europe.  But its special ‘observer’ status is currently under suspension.

“The [European Human Rights] Court is telling us to wait six years, while a similar case with the Warsaw Pride banned was solved in 18 months,” Nikolai Alekeev of Moscow Pride told the protesters.

“This is unacceptable,” he said, adding that his group has formally ask the Court to consider the Moscow Pride case as part of the “emergency procedure” allowed by rule 41.

Local media showed an interest in the group which travelled 3,000km from Russia to Strasbourg to make its voice heard at the European Institutions, especially at the Council of Europe.

“Every year, Russian authorities ban [Moscow Pride],” Nikolai Baev, also from the Pride’s organising committee, said in a radio interview.

“Council of Europe officials write wonderful letters to Russian authorities about the necessity to respect the rights of LGBT people, nevertheless, year after year, we see the same violence, same aggressions and same breach of human rights.

“Council of Europe is a human rights organisation which should protect human rights of all.”

And he asked: “Why are they not doing it?”

Sergey Androsenko, the young leader of the Belarusian LGBT movement GayBelarus, was carrying the flag of his country demanding: “Belarusian Gays want to enter Europe”.

Mr Androsenko pointed out that Belarusian citizens have no legal remedy of protection in Strasbourg as their country because of the suspension.

On Thursday evening, the Russian and Belarusian activists held a joint seminar with several French LGBT groups.

The seminar included exchange views on the necessity to increase visibility for LGBT community.

As in Russia, not all French gays and lesbians feel the necessity to fight for their rights.  Strasbourg activists think that visibility of LGBT community is necessary for the existence of sexual minorities in the society.

The French activists also showed their solidarity during the demonstration: “Solidarity with Moscow Pride” and “We are all Russian Sodomites” chanted the crowd in French during the event.

The demonstration was organised with the support of the local activists of TAPAGES, a group of local LGBT organizations which have expressed solidarity on numerous occasions with Moscow Gay Pride over the last three years. 

■ The demonstration in Strasbourg.


Russian, Belarusian Gay Activists Launch Brussels Campaign for Freedom of Assembly.  Gay activists from Russia and Belarus were pleased following a day of meetings in Brussels yesterday with European Union officials and a small group of European MPs.  (UK Gay News, February 12, 2009)





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Posted: 15 February 2009 at 23:00 (UK time)


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