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Russian Gay Activists Appeal Ban on Iranian Embassy Picket to the UN Human Rights Committee

First time UN body chosen instead of the European Court of Human Rights
 

 

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MOSCOW, March 26, 2009 (GayRussia.ru)  –  An official complaint has been sent today to the United Nations Human Rights Committee based in Geneva, Switzerland, in connection with the ban of the picketing in front of the Iranian Embassy in Moscow with the aim to condemn executions of homosexuals and minors in this country and to appeal for the repeal of the death penalty.

The picket was supposed to take place on July 19 last year from 1 to 2 p.m. with up to 30 participants. Notification was sent by Moscow Gay Pride organisers to the Prefecture of the Central Administrative area of Moscow in full accordance with the law on 11 July.  The same day, then deputy prefect Galina Boryatinskaya denied permission for the event.

We decided for the first time to use this procedure of individual complaints to the UN Human Rights Committee,” Nikolai Alekseev said this afternoon.

“This procedure is usually much faster that in the European Court which is overloaded with applications from Russia.

Secondly, we already have many similar complaints on the same issue of the freedom of assembly pending before Strasbourg court – and the condemnation of Russia for the breaches of gay rights at the UN level will be politically much stronger.”.

He expressed hope that the UN Human Rights Committee will swiftly consider the complaint and condemn Russia for the breaches of the rights of gays and lesbians.

By applying to this Committee, we decided to use all possible international means to appeal against unlawful decisions of Russian authorities.

The reason given for the refusal of permission to stage the picket was in the “interests of public order.

On July 16, the organisers appealed the ban to Taganskiy District Court of Moscow which confirmed the legality the ban two months later.

In their appeal, the organisers claimed that Russian legislation does not allow a blanket ban on peaceful public events and that the authorities are obliged to provide the security of the participants.

However, two similar pickets – on July 19 2006 and July 19 2007 – were permitted.  It is widely believed that last year’s ban was as a result of the word “homosexual” being included in the application – the word had not been used on applications for the previous two years.

In their complaint against Russia to the UN Human Rights Committee, the organisers claim that by banning their public event Russian authorities breached Article 21 of the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees the right to freedom of peaceful assembly to everyone.

The complaint by Russian gay activists was sent on the basis of the procedure enshrined in the Optional Protocol to the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights drafted in 1966.

The Convenant allows individuals to apply to the Committee against the states which breached their rights given by the Pact.  Russia recognized the jurisdiction of the UN Human Rights Committee in 1992.

The complaint sent to the UN Human Rights Committee today was the first one concerning the bans of public events of sexual minorities in Russia which was sent to the UN.

Earlier Russian activists sent all their complaints to the European Court of Human Rights based in Strasbourg.

Pickets in front of Iranian Embassies have been organised around the world to commemorate the two gay Iranian boys who were executed on July 19, 2005.

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Posted: 26 March 2009 at 13:30 (UK time)

   
             
       

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