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Russia cannot continue to ban LGBTI events, top European court rules

Russia cannot continue to ban LGBTI events, top European court rules

Berlin demonstration against homophobia in Russia

A top European court ruled today (27 November) Russia can no longer ban LGBTI events.

The ruling comes about after a group of seven Russian activists filed 51 applications with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

They allege discrimination and a violation of their freedom to hold LGBTI public events.

The activists presented evidence of Russian authorities granting a right to march, then rescinding that right soon after. They also presented evidence of authorities simply refusing to approve applications.

The activists claimed Russia is in violation of Article 11, 13 and 14 of the Convention of the court.

Article 11 states: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others.’

The ruling

The European Court of Human Rights said in its ruling: ‘The Court considers that in the instant case, the ban on holding LGBT public assemblies imposed by the domestic authorities did not correspond to a pressing social need and was thus not necessary in a democratic society.

‘The Court also finds that the applicants suffered unjustified discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, that that discrimination was incompatible with the standards of the Convention, and that they were denied an effective domestic remedy in respect of their complaints concerning a breach of their freedom of assembly,’ it said.

It then ruled Russia was in violation of Articles 11, 13 and 14.

Russian President Vladamir Putin
Russian President Vladamir Putin. | Photo: Republic of Korea / Flickr

The activists also asked for compensation ranging from €5,000 ($5,600) to €500,000 ($566,000) in their submission, but the Court dismissed it.

The Court said the severity of the ruling itself was ‘sufficient just satisfaction’.

In 2013, Russia introduced a ban on gay propaganda. But both the ECHR and the UN Human Rights Committee slam the law as discriminatory.

See also:

Russian activists receive fines for trying to organize a Pride in St. Petersburg

Russia bans popular LGBTI site for violating ‘gay propaganda’ law

Russian gay rights activist fined under ‘homosexual propaganda law’