BRUSSELS, April 29, 2006 – News that the mayor of
Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, has turned down a request for a
demonstration outside the Parliament building has drawn criticism from
the International Lesbian and Gay Association Europe (ILGA-Europe).
“We are seriously concerned with the decision of the
Chisinau Mayor to deny LGBT people a right to assembly,” commented Deborah
Lambillotte, co-chair of ILGA-Europe executive board.
“We would like to remind the Chisinau city authorities
about Article 40 of the Moldovan Constitution which guarantees everyone a
right to peaceful demonstration,” she added.
The demonstration, which was also refused last year, was
to be held on May 5 as part of the city’s fifth Gay Pride Festival.
In its condemnation of the Chisinau refusal, ILGA-Europe
calls upon the Moldovan capital’s mayor to immediately reconsider his
decision and urges the European Union, the Council of Europe and the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to intervene and upheld
the right to assembly for the Moldovan LGBT people.
Instances of denying or hindering LGBT people the right
to assemble and demonstrate by the municipal authorities have occurred
during the last couple of years also in other European countries and gay men
and women in those countries have experienced violence, threats and
appalling expressions of hate during the marches and demonstrations.
These breaches of basic human right to free assembly and
homophobic attitudes were condemned by the European Parliament’s Resolution
on Homophobia in Europe earlier this year.
“We also want to stress that such arguments against LGBT
demonstration as religious objections and plans for counter-demonstrations
cannot legitimise serious breach of a right to assembly as confirmed by the
European Court of Human Rights, Ms Lambillotte said.
“We also hope that the European organisations and
institutions will express their outrage by such lawless actions of the
The demonstration and Pride has been organised by the
Information Centre GenderDoc-M, which has already appealed the decision of
interim city mayor, Vasile Ursu, to the Court of Appeal.
In the rejection letter to GenderDoc-M, Vasile Ursu said
that the decision was made in order to avoid public disorder with serious
consequences for society.
“Based […] on the statements of religious organizations
that they will organize protest actions if the demonstration organized by
GenderDoc-M is allowed, and also based on letters of complaint from
individuals living in Chisinau and registered in the city, which also say
that protest actions will be organized, […] the demonstration in the form of
a solidarity march, planned by Information Center “GenderDoc-M” for 5 May
2006, will not be authorized”, the official letter from the interim mayor
In a statement, GenderDoc-M said it considers these
arguments irrelevant and developed for the sole purpose of justifying the
refusal to authorize the demonstration.
“The refusal violates the basic human rights of freedom
of expression and assembly guaranteed by the European Convention on Human
Rights, a spokesperson said yesterday. “The decision of the city
authorities undermines the Moldovan authorities’ commitments under the EU-Moldova
Action Plan, which include the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation
in line with European standards.”
Despite the setback, the fifth Moldovan Pride – “Rainbow
over the Nistru – 2006” – will go ahead as planned next week. And
organisers stress that all the events will be organized in a peaceful
The Pride programme includes a movie week, an
international conference on anti-discrimination issues, a football match
between lesbian teams, legislative theatre and concerts, etc. overseas
visitors are expected from Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, the
Moldova Pride gets underway on May 4 with a screening of
“Brokeback Mountain” as part of the official opening at the Restaurant